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[2009 No. 5472 P]

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Charleton delivered on the 11th day of

October, 2010
1. The plaintiffs, who I will call the recording companies, record and
release music and video for sale. They seek injunctions against
the defendant, an internet service provider, to prevent the theft
of their copyright by third parties illegally downloading it over
the internet. The form of injunction sought is left to the
discretion of the court. Hence, I will analyse various technical
2. Those enthused by music and video may legally buy it in a disc
format or download it on the internet for a fee. Prices vary, but
music in CD format or film captured on DVD can typically cost
between €10 and €20 in a shop. A CD will contain up to 80
minutes of music, perhaps 15 tracks, and a DVD can store a 180
minute film. This case is about music. Both music and films are
widely available for purchase to one’s home computer over the
internet. Because the material is in digital format, in the form of
downloadable files, the quality is the same as that on a disc. To
download a music track from the internet typically costs under
€1 per music track but films are more expensive. All of these
digital files are of original creative work. They are, as a matter of
law, protected by copyright. Increasingly, as the evidence in this

case has demonstrated, such protection has been undermined to

the status of an empty formula. The recording companies
complain that their entire business has been decimated by
piracy on the internet. They claim that a whole generation is
growing up, who instead of purchasing recordings in hard format
or by legal download, simply access the sites on the internet that
enable them to download for free the millions of music tracks
that are available illegally worldwide.
3. The defendant, who I will call UPC, sells internet service to about
15% of the Irish market. Its turnover is in the order of €250M per
year and the underlying nature of the business is profitable. It
employs 800 staff. In its interface with customers it deals with
about 35,000 inbound calls per month, of which it answers about
90%. Later in this judgment, I will refer in detail to the fact that
a substantial portion of its 150,000 customers, or the children in
their teenage and twenties years of these customers, are using
the internet service provided by UPC to steal copyright material
which is the property of the recording companies. UPC, as the
internet service provider, transmits, in digital form, this copyright
protected music through its system and into, and out of, the
home personal computers that are used for copyright piracy.
UPC claims it has no liability in respect of this activity because it
is merely a conduit. The recording companies disagree.
4. The recording companies say they are entitled to an injunctive
order of the Court requiring UPC to stop this infringing activity
from taking place over its network. The recording companies
say that UPC is in the best position to do this. The record
companies have communicated with UPC not only as to the
nature of the problem, but by actually giving it details whereby
the infringers of copyright were detected, by the unique IP
numbers assigned to their computers, illegally downloading their
songs; but that they have been ignored. The recording
companies claim that UPC is turning its face aside from this
problem while maintaining a front of righteousness by having in
place a customer use policy that condemns internet piracy but
which it ignores deliberately in order increase its profit. The

customer use policy of UPC makes it very clear that the internet
service of UPC cannot be used to steal copyright material. This is
a matter of contract, and for a breach of this obligation by the
customer, UPC can terminate the contract. It never does. It is
not so inclined.
5. At the end of their amended statement of claim, the recording
companies are specific only to this extent as to what they seek:-
“1. An injunction, pursuant to s. 37 and s. 40(4) of the Copyright
and Related Rights Act, 2000, restraining the defendant
internet service provider from infringing the copyright in
sound recordings owned by, or exclusively licensed to, the
plaintiffs by making available to the public copies of those
sound recording without the plaintiffs’ consent using its
internet service facilities.
2. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing order, an
order pursuant to s. 40(4) of the Copyright and Related Rights
Act, 2000 that the defendant block or otherwise disable
access by its subscribers to the website and
related domain names, IP addresses and URL’s, as set out in
the schedule hereto attached, together with such other
domain names, IP addresses and URL’s as may reasonably be
notified as related domain names by the plaintiffs’ to the
defendant from time to time.”
6. Preferably, the recording companies seek a three strike solution:
they would monitor the internet for infringements, inform UPC
who then would be required on each occasion of breach of
copyright to warn the infringer, up to three times, and then to
discontinue service. In the alternative, blocking and diversion
equipment is sought to be imposed on UPC by court order. These
alternatives are later described in detail.
7. In defending this claim, UPC state that there is no liability in law
for acting as a mere conduit for copyright infringement, and that
it neither initiated the communication involved in piracy, chose
the recipient, altered the information nor condoned the activity.
In other words, sections 37, permitting an injunction, and 40(4)
of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (“the Act”),

defining liability, do not apply to UPC at all. Even if the legislation

mandates an injunction, UPC argues that no injunction should be
granted because it would not be just or convenient; specifically
that such an injunction would infringe the fundamental rights of
internet users as to their privacy, as guaranteed by the European
Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
would not be in accordance with the fundamental principles of
European law, most particularly, proportionality and that the
court would be drawn into the supervision of its own order.

The Nature of the Problem

8. I am satisfied that the business of the recording companies is
being devastated by internet piracy. This not only undermines
their business but ruins the ability of a generation of creative
people in Ireland, and elsewhere, to establish a viable living. It is
destructive of an important native industry. While the evidence
focussed on the recording industry, the retail sector must also be
affected by this wholesale theft. Furthermore, the evidence
presented convinces me that a substantial portion of the
generation now in their teenage years and twenties are actively
dissuaded by illegal alternatives from legitimately purchasing
9. Some telling figures were produced during the course of
evidence. Helen Sheehy, the solicitor on behalf of the plaintiffs,
initiated three actions against Eircom plc, another internet
service provider, with a view to discovering the names of
infringers. I will shortly examine that action in detail. For the
moment, suffice it to say that the recording companies had used
DtecNet, a detection programme described later in this
judgment, to uncover the IP addresses of individuals who were
persistently infringing their copyright. Only the internet service
providers know what IP address was ascribed to what customer
on what particular day. In 2005, Ms. Sheehy applied for orders
from the High Court so that seventeen individuals who were
customers of Eircom, an internet service provider, would be
named. In January, 2006 an order was sought in respect of a

further forty-nine individuals. Then in June, 2007 a further

twenty-three names and addresses were sought. All these three
sets of orders were granted. Of the first seventeen individuals,
the largest single uploader had 3,078 music files pirated, while
the average was 628 files. The numbers increased with the
second application. On the third application, the highest single
infringer had 37,511 files while the average infringer had taken
8,400 files. It is reasonable to infer, from these figures alone,
that even over the short period of two years involved that the
problem of piracy through the internet was increasing rapidly.
10. Mr. Dick Doyle, Director General of the Irish Recorded Music
Association (“IRMA”) gave evidence which substantially supports
the proposition that piracy of recorded music is a severe
economic problem. Whereas the recording companies were
aware of the issue of illegal downloading through the internet at
the time of the enactment of the Copyright and Related Rights
Act 2000, which was passed on the 10th July of that year and
came into force on the 1st January of the following year, the
problem was not then substantial. It is apparent from the action
taken by the recording companies, to which I have just referred,
from 2005 to 2007, that at an earlier date they had become
alarmed by internet policy. Section 40(4) of the Act was first
invoked by the recording companies against Eircom plc in aid of
seeking some form of injunction against an internet service
provider, which required them to block copyright theft, by the
issuing of a plenary summons in 2008. Eircom is the largest
internet service provider, with over 40% of the national market. I
am satisfied that this was the logical place to start. In January
2009, the action against Eircom settled in the course of the
hearing before this Court when they agreed to act in cooperation
month-by-month on the detection of internet piracy by the
recording companies, first warning their customers twice that
what they were doing was illegal, and then shutting them off
from internet access on a third infringement. Eircom has, as does
UPC, an acceptable usage contract with its customers mandating
termination for illegal internet use. Eircom takes its customer

contract seriously. UPC, as will emerge later, does not unless it

can profit from it. In settling the case with Eircom, the recording
companies agreed to bring proceedings against the other
internet service providers but, as Mr. Doyle told me, and I
accept, they would probably have done so anyway.
11. Between 2005 and 2009 the recording companies experienced a
reduction of 40% in the Irish market for the legal sale of
recorded music. This is equivalent to €64 million in sales. Up to
August, 2008 the country was experiencing a decade of growing
and heavy consumer spending. The figure is probably, therefore,
an underestimate. Mr. Doyle suggests that a large proportion of
that decline was due to illegal downloading. Fairly, he states
that it is impossible to say that every single illegal download
resulted in the loss of a sale, because what is free is often just
taken, and perhaps never listened to. The figures produced by
Mr. Doyle indicate that the relevant surveys show a loss of
between 20% and 30% as a proportion of decline in sales to
what is illegally downloaded. In referring to the relevant
research, Mr. Doyle posited at about 1:0.42 as to the ratio of
unauthorised downloaders per broadband internet line. There are
1,571,000 broadband subscribers in Ireland of which, if the
international studies translate, some 675,000 people are likely to
be engaged in some form of illegal downloading from time to
time. I am satisfied these studies are accurate and apply to
Ireland. The average number of files illegally downloaded per
month for each of these individuals, international research
suggests, was 20.2. The evidence posits the probability that
there are around 163.7 million illegally downloaded songs sitting
on computers in Ireland waiting for people here, or in other parts
of the world, to, in turn, download these songs from them. This
represents a loss to the music industry which, if measured at 99c
per illegal download speaks for itself. Mr. Doyle posited that the
lower 20% ratio might be applied whereby at least €20m in lost
sales are being caused to the Irish market by illegal downloads
on an annual basis. Similar losses in revenue must also
undermine revenue to record shops.

12. The nature of this problem was further described by Willie

Kavanagh, the Chairman of EMI Records (Ireland) Limited. His
evidence was that the mass illegal availability of sound
recordings, made available without authorisation or payment
through the internet, has done untold damage to the
development of the legitimate music industry and has caused
major damage to traditional CD sales and to legal internet sales.
While Mr. Kavanagh fairly admitted that CD sales were likely to
decline anyway, as legitimate downloads became available on
the internet, and that these had increased from a zero base and
continued to grow, the views expressed by Mr. Doyle, he said,
were well accepted across the industry as to the nature of the
decline and the reason for it.
13. Illegal downloading is done with considerable ease. Mr.
Kavanagh conducted an exercise, which in his case was legal
because he works for the company which holds the copyright,
whereby he attempted to illegally download the track “Viva la
Vida”, a track produced by the group Coldplay. He went to a
well-known site for facilitating music piracy called ‘The Pirate
Bay’. First, he installed on his computer at home a peer-to-peer
file sharing application called LimeWire. This took a few
seconds. This was free and was enabled very swiftly after he
became a member of the Gnutella/LimeWire peer-to-peer
network. Then, using the relevant software and the same
website, he did a search on the internet for the track. A huge
number of hosts for the track came up and he downloaded the
song onto his computer in a very short time. At one stage in the
process a notice appeared as asking him to “respect copyright”.
This, he correctly described, tactfully, as a form of hypocrisy. In
less than three minutes he had joined the relevant website,
downloaded the necessary software, accessed the relevant
swarms of computers offering the track illegally, and downloaded
the targeted song. Once this is done once, it is quicker the next
time and a person is likely to steal again. His written witness
statement gives other examples. He also recalled, in evidence,
looking for the film “Batman-The Dark Knight”, before it was

released in the cinemas and being able to get it illegally, for no

payment, on the internet. If the pirated version is filmed covertly
in a cinema, it is likely to be of poor quality; once the DVD is
available in shops, or perhaps by other means prior to that
event, the internet will be full of perfect digital reproductions.
The particular track “Viva la Vida” was offered as an example of
the losses that the recording companies suffer, and through
them, those who have the strongest moral right to copyright,
that is the creative artists behind music. The album from which
“Viva la Vida” was taken cost around €1 million to make and €10
million to market.
14. This scourge of internet piracy strongly affects Irish musicians,
most of whom pay tax in Ireland. ‘Aslan’ is a distinguished Irish
group which has a loyal fan base; but not all of them believe in
paying for music. Previous sales of their albums were excellent,
about 35,000 per album, and in respect of one called “Platinum
Collection”, a three CD box set, 50,000 copies were sold. More
recently, an album called “Uncased” was released and only
6,000 copies were sold. Perhaps, it might be thought, the album
was not popular and did not sell well? In contrast, a search was
made to see how many illegal downloads had been made on the
internet from that album, and 22,000 were traced.
15. The implications of this are that those involved in creative work
will get a substantially, and unfairly, reduced return for the
expenditure of their talent in creative work. From the point of
view of the recording companies, if there are no profits, and no
royalties to artists, the legal sale of recorded music, through the
preparation of albums, will cease. As Mr. Kavanagh put it: “If you
don’t get a return on an investment and you go down the same
road again and invest the same money again and expect a
different outcome, the likelihood is we would be reluctant to
invest in another album”.
16. The relevant evidence and surveys presented to the Court by Mr.
Kavanagh and Mr. Doyle indicates that with the growth of
broadband internet rollout, the easy and unimpeded piracy of
music will grow. The Court sees no reason why a person, who is

not habituated to purchasing recorded music, would not take it

for free over the internet. I think that Ireland is broadly
comparable to Australia in respect of our internet usage habits.
The evidence convinces me that if we are not now at the stage,
we are moving towards the situation where teenagers and
students have, or will have, an average of many hundreds of
illegally copied songs on each of their digital music players. The
Australian survey referred to in evidence probably represents the
present situation in Ireland; and the even bleaker future for the
music industry. As between those who are under 20, and over
25, the proportion of tracks not paid for is likely to be over 60%
in the first category, and under 15% for the older category. Time
is moving on and more and more young people are embracing
internet music piracy. When Mr. Kavanagh told me that he had
no reason to believe anything that contradicted this survey, I
noted that it might be challenged in cross-examination or
rebutted by contrary evidence. This did not happen. Further,
another careful international survey indicated that between 49%
and 83% of all internet traffic, with a night time peak of 95%, is
accounted for by peer-to-peer communications. The time when
the internet is most used in this way is at night time.
Significantly, UPC shapes its internet traffic so that peer-to-peer
and other forms of communication are competing for internet
use during business hours, when teenagers and students are less
at home, but peer-to-peer downloading and uploading is
throttled to around a third during the evening and night.
17. I have carefully observed the evidence given by Ms Sheehy, Mr.
Doyle and Mr. Kavanagh. From the point of view of consistency
of narrative, demeanour and internal cohesion, I am satisfied to
rely on all of their evidence.

Economic Issues
18. The evidence establishes definitively that copyright is being
infringed on the UPC network. I do not accept any of the
evidence from UPC as to its unawareness of this process. Nor do

I accept that it has not thought about this issue and considered
whether it is making a profit from it.
19. More widely, however, internet piracy is an economic and a
moral problem. Were men to walk into a cinema and in the dark,
set up a small tripod for a machine to digitally record the latest
movie blockbuster, to use the appropriate colloquial terminology,
most right thinking people would be appalled. To entertain
themselves and their families at home, they would have to wait
three or four months to buy the DVD on its release and spend
about €15 to have the film and whatever extras were added on
to make it attractive. It is hardly credible that cinema owners
would not be aware of this problem taking place. If they did
nothing, and allowed people to proceed with illegally capturing
the film, the first step would have been taken with their
acquiescence in the undermining of copyright. Attendance at the
film would plummet, because a group of friends would be drawn
into deciding that a cheaper alternative for say five or ten of
them, instead of having to spend between €50 and €100 on
cinema admission, would be to buy a pirated copy of the film and
watch it in the comfort of their home on the now almost
ubiquitous flat screen television of large size that graces our
home life. If nothing were done about the men, their camera and
their tripod, their digital reproduction equipment and their sales,
on the release of the DVD of the film, legal purchases would be
minimal. Similarly, in the week of commencing writing this, the
National Youth Orchestra of Ireland presented a stirring new
composition, ‘Summer Overture’ by Shaun Davey, in the National
Concert Hall. . Nowadays it is possible to attend a concert and to
have CDs of it legally for sale fifteen minutes after conclusion. A
person could covertly capture the music on a small digital
recorder. If that individual went out to a van in which he had a
great deal of digital copying equipment, reproduced it without
permission and sold the CDs to those leaving the concert, it
would rightly be regarded as flagrant abuse of copyright. I
cannot see how an illegal recording on site and the subsequent
public or internet offering for free, with no return to the

composer or performer for their creativity, is anything other than

a scandal. I have no doubt that any responsible cinema owner, or
concert hall owner would stop internet piracy, if made aware of
it. I am further satisfied that a reasonable person in that position
would be vigilant to prevent it in a cinema or in a concert venue.
A failure to address those problems, by those who can address
the abuse, is not excusable. It constitutes the abuse of the
economic interests of the creative community. This kind of theft
is shameful. Many who see that activity on the street would shun
the commerce of exploiting the rights of artists for no return.
Peer pressure would prevent much of it. But the internet allows a
dispensation from shame, as internet thieves figure that no one
will know what is being done behind the closed doors of internet
access. Essentially, that coupled with the failure of internet
service providers to act like a responsible cinema or concert
venue owner would act, is why the problem is so extreme
20. There is no difference between the public situations I have
described and the piracy of music tracks over the internet. It has
the same consequence. The conduit for that illegal activity is,
however, not the street or the pavement outside a cinema; it is
the internet service providers. It is clear that they have an
economic and moral obligation to address the problem. I do not
accept any of the evidence from UPC, referred to later in this
judgment, as to why this has not been done. Instead, the effect
on the market place of illegal downloads, through the internet, is
to increase the profit levels of internet service providers.
Relevant correspondence from within UPC is profoundly
disturbing as to the reality of their approach.
21. The evidence establishes that this problem is a massive one.
This is an instance where the multiplication on a huge scale of
small problems has changed the nature of the issue into a huge
pilfering of the resources of creative artists. For each individual
person, the number of downloads cannot be regarded as being
on a commercial scale. It is the multiplication of the problem
through millions of individuals feeling free to use the internet to
pirate the copyright of creative artists and recording companies

that has created the undermining of that right on a foundational

22. I now need to describe the nature of internet communications in
detail, for it is on this detail that the legal authority of the court
to grant injunctive relief is circumscribed. In that regard, the
nature of the potential solutions to the issue of internet piracy
must also be addressed. The interaction of the parties requires
also to be examined. The relevant legislation is then analysed.

Internet Access
23. The internet consists of millions of linked computers. The
principal points of linkage are internet service providers, of which UPC
is one. Those who subscribed to broadband access are provided with a
cable modem that gives an Ethernet connection. Many of UPC’s
customers subscribe for voice telephony, television and internet access
over this connection. Through a wireless router, internet service can be
used within the range of the wireless router, provided the appropriate
customer identification number, supplied by UPC to the customer, is
keyed into the computer. For UPC, the cable modem is identified and
authorized through a MAC address. This is registered in UPC to a
particular customer at a particular place and also records the kind of
service to be paid for and the level of service for internet broadband
access that is allowable in accordance with the fee paid. The separate
IP address is assigned from day to day by UPC, as internet service
provider. They alone know the identity of the customer using that IP
address at any particular time. Because there are millions of IP
addresses, no one apart from UPC, merely having the IP address that
was used to infringe copyright can discover the identity of infringing
subscribers. Anyone can find out the banks millions of numbers
assigned to particular internet service providers; but that is all that can
be learned.
24. When the cable modem of a UPC connected computer boots up,
UPC will verify that the MAC address is assigned to the correct cable
modem, it will allocate a temporary IP address for the boot process, it
will check on the profile of the service subscribed for in accordance
with what the customer has paid for, it will then access the internet

and the customer can proceed. The customer will have contracted to
use the service in accordance with the Acceptable Usage Policy of UPC.
The boot up process includes the collection of log information that
records the IP addresses allocated to the customer’s equipment,
identified by the MAC address, and the relevant time.
25. UPC employs sophisticated monitoring and management tools.
In particular, the bandwidth usage of the customer is monitored.
Traffic monitoring, classification, and the enforcement of acceptable
usage, is done through Cisco SCE8000 Systems. This performs a
classification of the total aggregated traffic.
26. The use which a customer makes of their broadband facility is
reported on through the ServAssure Programme that is run at the end
of every month. This data refers to MAC addresses, because there is no
need to refer to IP addresses in this context, since the MAC address is
not movable for this purpose. UPC then manually cross references that
data with the customer database whereby account details are
determined and checked. The data is then cross referenced to another
manual database to determine whether or not the account holder has
had previous warnings on an excess use of bandwidth beyond what
they have paid for. Following this exercise the account holder, if using
excessive bandwidth, will receive either a first or second warning. In
practice, as I understand it, once a warning is given, and bandwidth
usage does not cease, the customer is billed up a level to the next
highest, or above, bandwidth payment structure. The Acceptable
Usage Policy, which I will turn to shortly, allows customers to be cut off
for using excessive bandwidth. However, I understand from the
evidence of Anna Coyle, who is in charge of billing within UPC, that the
current policy is to retain valuable customers and to persuade them to
move up to a higher bandwidth and pay more money. This is done by
warning them and then just billing them at the higher bandwidth.
People are not cut off in respect of this, there are simply sent a higher
bill. To some extent the evidence is confusing as to whether one or two
warnings are given, depending upon the package that the customer
has contracted for. The evidence is clear, however, that UPC pursue a
policy of retaining customers and requiring them to pay more by
reference to the Acceptable Usage Policy whereby if they use more

than they have contracted for, they are required to pay in accordance
with the level billed. Those who do not pay are cut off. There is no
negotiation on this issue.
27. Traffic monitoring, through deep packet inspection, is used by
UPC to shape traffic. The current policy is based on a general shaping
of peer-to-peer traffic. This uses different levels for upstream and
downstream. The shaping is applied to the total aggregated traffic and
is not targeted at any individual user. The thresholds are statistically
defined and can be changed through input. This shaping is applied to
peer-to-peer traffic, to reduce its potential for domination of the
network, during peak hours for computer usage which are daily from
17.00 to 24.00. In off peak hours, which coincide in part with business
hours, no shaping occurs.
28. The nature of peer-to-peer traffic has been described in
evidence in technical terms. I wish to give a brief description here.
Professor Paddy Nixon, of University College Dublin, told me that the
relevant studies showed an analysis of internet traffic that was 70%
peer-to-peer in Eastern Europe and 56% in Western Europe. As to
encrypted peer-to-peer traffic, while some reports put that level as well
over 25%, the studies referred to in evidence showed it at 20% or just
under. Peer-to-peer networks are established using appropriate
technologies, such as BitTorrent, whereby each participant becomes
both a downloader of material and an uploader. The principles applied
in legal peer-to-peer file sharing and illegal peer-to-peer file sharing are
the same. A lengthy musical, or other, work would be split up into
thousands of digital parcels, each one of which carries an identifying
code which indicates that it is a particular track. This can be checked
by anyone over the internet through DtecNet whereby identification
can be made to the particular IP address that is engaged in the process
of uploading/downloading copyright material without permission.
Whereas a suggestion was made by counsel during the course of the
case, that these file # numbers degrade over time that was not backed
up by any evidence. A participant, having downloaded the relevant
software for free over the internet, such as eDonkey, or Gnutella, will
find out on a site where a particular track is available and then join his
computer, through the internet service provider, to a swarm of

computers worldwide that has the material available for illegal

downloading. Each user will open a file on their computer for this
sharing purpose. What they already have is shared, potentially, with
every other computer in a swarm, while what every other computer in
the swarm has on their corresponding file, is potentially shared with
the illegal downloader. What makes peer-to-peer communication
useful, in terms of legal applications, is that it markedly increases the
swiftness of a download and that the party from whom the download is
taking place, does not require the same level of power as if the traffic
were all coming from one source. Because the traffic is taken from
hundreds or thousands of computers, there are that number of
platforms, and their combined power, for hosting the information and
for transmitting it through the network to the person who wants the
download. Each piece, marked with the relevant # file, is also identified
digitally as to the place in which it should sit in the overall work. The
computer identifies these pieces and places them in an appropriate
order. Thus, instead of the scale of A major arriving as A, C#, E, D, B
etc, it will arrive A, B, C#, D, E by reference to the identifying codes. A
may arrive from a computer in Kerry, and E may arrive from a
computer in Germany, but they will all be assembled on the users
computer in the right order so that perfect digital reproduction of the
original is attained. This is usually, whether it is illegal or legal, then
downloaded onto an iPod, or other portable device. Whereas the
computer in Kerry, and the computer in Germany, are outside the UPC
network, and may be transmitted from and through several different
internet service providers, for the copy to arrive at a UPC broadband
subscriber’s computer, it must pass through the UPC network that is
the subject matter of this case. For seconds, or for minutes, in digital
form, it is on that network before it arrives, unless blocked or diverted,
at a UPC subscriber’s computer. During the course of transmission
there may be momentary stopping and starting, but the pieces will be
sent out in the right order.

Legal and Illegal Peer-to-Peer

29. I am not convinced by the evidence, in particular that of
Professor Nixon, that any solution based on blocking all peer-to-peer

traffic, or severely constricting it, is reasonable. I am convinced by his

evidence that the volume of peer-to-peer usage on the internet will
grow. As legitimate downloads are offered on the internet, it strongly
favors this lawful activity that peer-to-peer technologies can be used.
For instance, in downloading a sound recording from the RTÉ website,
or a film from the BBC website, the application of peer-to-peer
technology means that the host can rely on the person desiring the
film joining a swarm of computers that have it available, whereby the
power of the server can be less, thus reducing costs, because the
download/upload procedure is relying on the connection of many
hundreds or thousands of computers that have the work available for
sharing already. Storage facilities such as the S3 service offered by
Amazon, allow companies or organisations in diverse locations to
download data by reference not only to the central computer, from
which the service is offered, but by the branch networks being online,
having the data on file, and sharing it through peer-to-peer technology.
This is likely to be a growing part of legitimate activity. In addition,
there are some sites, at present small, of which an example is the
LimeWire Store, which offer legal downloads using peer-to-peer
technology. That is likely to grow as well.
30. What I am also satisfied of is that the large majority of the
current use of peer-to-peer technology is for the purpose of illegally
downloading copyright material. In that regard, I take into account the
view expressed by Professor Nixon that the illegal use of peer-to-peer
was in a majority; the eventual concession by Anna Coyle and the
evidence of Dick Doyle. The studies attached to the relevant witness
statements and admitted to evidence by consent bear this out. What
cannot be predicted, however, is the level of growth of legal peer-to-
peer file sharing and whether lawful use will eventually become the
majority. While this technology is certainly used at the present time to
account for a large majority of internet piracy of copyright material,
trends in the future may mean that it is in a minority.
31. Even if that were not so, it would not be in accordance with the
principle of proportionality to use a blunt instrument for the
deterrence, or rendering impossible, of illegal activity, when the effect

of that would inevitably lead to the infringement on the right of

communication through the internet.
32. Another solution proposed, by way of injunctive relief, was to
search out the platforms most often used within peer-to-peer sharing
protocols for illegal file sharing, to identify them by deep packet
inspection, and to severely throttle or block these communications.
There are two reasons why this also is not proportionate. Firstly, the
relevant software may be designed to use a number of applications.
Those involved in copyright piracy, would readily, and swiftly, release
new applications for downloads. Illegal users would switch to them
readily. Secondly, there is no satisfactory evidence upon which I can
rely which indicates to me that a list of protocols, such as eDonkey,
gNnutella and LimeWire, are not also used legally. To block these
communications would not be proportional. It might have the effect of
cutting off a certain amount of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing, but it
would also have an effect on the ability of internet users to lawfully
communicate with each other.
33. I would reject any solution that is based on any substantial
constriction in the communication of material lawfully available on the
internet unless the harm is demonstrated to be so grave as to illegal
file sharing of copyright material as to render that both necessary and
just. It is not so demonstrated, especially as there are viable
alternatives. I now consider each of the potential technological
responses to internet piracy of copyright that has been described in
the evidence in order to supply the detail for these conclusions.

Solution I: Detection
34. The IP address of those engaging in the peer-to-peer
uploading/downloading of copyright material can be discovered easily and
accurately. DtecNet software is a process which was described in evidence
by Thomas Sehested. In essence, by checking with Résaux IP Européens
(“RIPE”), an organisation based in Paris, a list of IP addresses provided to
internet service providers in Europe is obtained. Digital files of copyright
material are then obtained from the owners. There may be several
thousand of these obtained directly from the record companies. As the
download is proceeding through the system it carries the IP address of

those who are downloading material. DtecNet does what any user of a
peer-to-peer network does in order to obtain a download. No extra
information is obtained. The fact of the download together with IP address,
the digital information identifying the copyright material and the time or
the crucial data is obtained. DtecNet searches peer-to-peer networks for
files being uploaded which are subject to copyright. On finding such a file,
DtecNet requests the file. This is then transmitted to, and copied, by
DtecNet’s computer. It is integral to this process that basic information
about the uploader from whom the work is being transmitted is obtained.
The examples produced in Court show that the user’s pseudonym and the
IP address of the user appears together with the relevant time, date and
identification of the copyright material. As part of this process, if the IP
address was registered to an Irish internet service provider, DtecNet
identified how many sound recordings were being made available by that
user on peer-to-peer software. A list of the files was then captured in the
form of a log containing the name, size and hash value of user’s shared
files. Although a music file may be split up in several hundred pieces, each
of them carries a sufficient identification through the file # for it to be
fitted into an appropriate order of sense and sufficient to clearly identify
that it is a portion of a work which is subject to copyright. In all of the
examples of which the Court was provided evidence, there is nothing to
suggest that if only a tiny portion of the work was being uploaded that that
would be insufficient to identify it. Rather, what peer-to-peer involves is
obtaining the entire music recording that is desired. The file # identifier
ensures that it is put into a correct format and order. The process of
DtecNet is automatic, in the sense that the handshake between the
computers, in peer-to-peer terminology, is fully automated. The search for
particular files, for example the 1,000 most popular songs relevant to the
recording companies, at that time, is inputted for the purpose of search. I
am satisfied that from the evidence that the process is highly accurate.
The activity log further transcribes the activity whereby the evidence is
secured in a reliable format. There was nothing in the evidence to suggest
to me that this process was subject to any degree of substantial error.
Furthermore, the evidence establishes that there is a substantial problem
on the UPC network with copyright piracy. Various figures on a monthly or
annual basis were produced in Court. These related to an estimate of

15,000 per month, on a test run by DtecNet on 350 random tracks from a
list of 10,000 U.K., Irish and internationally popular tracks. An
extrapolation was made that at their peak downloads were likely to reach
around 47,000 per month. These, however, are individual incidents. A
person may be downloading a number of tracks in a single sitting, as it
were, at their computer. A person may go back and download on their
computer a number of times in the day. They may leave their computer on
all day, downloading continually. It is highly unlikely that a person who
enjoys an experience, having done it once, will simply desist. The figures
produced by Ms. Sheehy speak for themselves. If, therefore, one is
responding on a month-by-month basis, while it is difficult to say how
many individual infringers one may be dealing with, it is certainly a small
fraction of 47,500. Returning again to the figures mentioned by Ms.
Sheehy on previous tests, it is apparent that there are likely to be, at
most, some few thousand of them. Of them, perhaps a hundred or so will
be the leaders in culpability. These few people are the ones who need to
be processed. It is also apparent that the recording companies are going
to have to make a choice in the implementation of any injunctive relief
which they are seeking, whereby the worst infringers, namely those who
download most frequently or who have the most illegally copied material
on offer, will be prioritised
35. There are two potential methods of evading the DtecNet process.
The first is by the use of proxy IP addresses. A sophisticated computer
technician could hack into another person’s computer, and then request
files using peer-to-peer technology. They would be downloaded to the
second computer via peer-to-peer technology and, as I understand, then
directly download it, bypassing peer-to-peer communications, and
therefore DtecNet, back to the original computer user. A second way
would involve using another computer as a proxy server. There are some
free sites, as I understand the evidence, offering this service. There are, in
addition, ways of paying for the hire of another computer so that this
process can be engaged in. The figures that I have obtained from Mr.
Sehested in evidence indicate to me that the current use of this
technology to avoid the ultimate IP address that the user resides on is now
around 0.3%. With any solution, there will be a technology battle, whereby

this problem may increase, and may need to be addressed. As of the

current time I do not regard it as significant.
36. Secondly, peer-to-peer downloaders can use encryption. This is not
a problem. An encrypted communication is only of use if the party
sending it knows that the party receiving it can decode the message. This
is how Mr. Sehested put the matter:-
“P2P encryptions basically make it hard… it encrypts the actual
traffic flowing in and out of the network, but as we are residing
within the network, actually communicating with the users on equal
terms, encryption will not affect our scanning. However, if you were
do what is called a “de-pack inspection”, that basically means if you
are looking at the packages that is flowing back and forth, then
encryption would hide that traffic so you are not able to see that it
is potentially P2P traffic. But as we are actually residing on… either
end of the communication, the traffic being encrypted is not an
issue for our monitoring… [b]ecause we are essentially part of the
network, so we could also communicate encrypted. So the idea of
encryption is that if you have two endpoints, if anybody is standing
in the middle of that, they won’t be able to intercept that traffic, it
will be encrypted to them. But if you are either end of the spectrum,
you will have a key to unencrypt it, and we are on that side of it.”
37. Further, as I understand it, those internet thieves using peer-to-peer
encryption, download standardised forms of encryption so that mass
communication can take place. I do not regard this as a substantial
reason why the use of DtecNet technology would not be appropriate. The
analysis thus supports the conclusion that I have reached that the
detection, notification and termination solution is viable and proportionate.

Solution II: Global File Registry

38. The solution of detection and diversion that was described in
evidence by Jorg Michael Speck involves several steps: this is called Global
File Registry. A programme which is capable of being integrated into the
Cisco 8000 of the Firmwear upgrade requires, firstly, the identification of
files which are not either out of copyright, by reason of a lapse of time, or
in respect of which copyright has been waived. In this regard, the relevant
programme has a database of around four million tracks which are subject

to copyright. Secondly, an alternative offering of around one million tracks

is made available for legal download through this system. Global File
Registry can operate on a mirrored form of network, whereby there is no
encumbrance of the speed or efficiency of the internet service provider’s
offering to its customers. The database of music tracks which are likely to
be infringed is taken from the owners. In microseconds, any peer-to-peer
transmission involving the illicit sharing of copyright material is identified
through the file hash. This indicates the contents and mandates the
programme to take action. Once the file hash is cross-referenced to
copyright material, the sought for file-link by the customer of the internet
service provider is immediately terminated. Then, the second aspect of
the system occurs. The customer seeking a particular track unlawfully is
immediately diverted to a site, made available through Global File
Registry, where that track may be accessed legally. The system uses deep
packet inspection. Legal traffic is never interrupted. Privacy is not
infringed as the system simply reads numbers which identify the illicit
nature of the transmission. Integral to that, I infer from the other evidence
presented to the Court, is that a relevant computer address can also be
recovered, as it is part of the transmission. There are, therefore, no
privacy issues involved as no aspect of the system described involves the
identification of a customer. Therefore, the firewall which exists between
the allocation of a bank of IP numbers through RIPE, which is publicly
available, and the day-to-day, or hour-to-hour, ascription of that number
by an internet service provider to a particular customer, is never
breached. The recording companies can never, through Global File
Registry, or any other system, discover who it is that is infringing their
copyright materials. Only the internet service provider on being notified of
an infringement through DtecNet can find that out.
39. Global File Registry by-passes any response by way of detection,
notification, education and termination in favour of immediate
interruptions. The advantage of the system is that it offers a legitimate
alternative which Mr. Speck described as offering “solid value”. This
changes the passive transmission of internet service provider customer’s
data into intervention. It can operate as a source of revenue to the
internet service provider since arrangements are predicated to be made
between the companies offering internet service and the recording

companies. Thus, the attempt to illicitly download a music track by peer-

to-peer file sharing is immediately interrupted and a diversion is effected
to a site, shared by the internet service provider and the music industry,
whereby a legal download may be made by payment through a credit card
or by an addition to a customer’s bill from its internet service provider.
40. A similar system is operated by police in Australia in relation to
about 70,000 child pornography images. These are identified by reference
to the file hash, but in that instance the transmission is simply interrupted.
I would imagine that this system, which is fully tested and in operation,
also involves the gathering of data as to the user for criminal detection
purposes, but this was not developed in evidence. That police agenda does
not form part of the operation for the disablement of copyright theft.
41. While the system is now partnered with the Cisco Corporation as a
joint venture, and while it presents as a viable future alternative, it is yet
to be fully tested. It would not be right for the Court to order such a
system by way of injunctive relief because its integration and testing will
take time. A trial exists with an Australian internet service provider but this
trial, the Court notes, is only in respect of 200 musical tracks. To ramp up
the trial towards a significant number of tracks, which in an Irish context
would certainly run into several thousand, involves moving into an area
which is not sufficiently predictable. It is possible, as was established in
cross-examination, for persistence to lead a determined customer to an
illegal download. It is also possible that the file hash in a very popular
music track, that was constantly blocked, could be changed. I am satisfied
that this would be an elaborate process. There would be a likely response
from the music industry whereby, that would be detected and added,
under that new format, to the files to be searched for and detected in the
course of illegal transmission.
42. There are obvious advantages to the Global File Registry system.
The routes around it are difficult and time consuming. It represents a
viable future way of responding to internet copyright piracy. It has no
privacy implications. Any aspect of encoding is not demonstrated in the
evidence to be different to the obvious solution of uploading the
encryption programmes that are widely shared in this mass market.
However, this system requires further work in order to operate at the level
required. Finally, on this issue, I am not satisfied that in order to markedly

decrease the internet piracy of copyright material that it is necessary to

upload the entire discography of modern civilisation. Instead, the evidence
demonstrates that deterring, through interruption and diversion, the most
widely shared musical tracks at a particular time is highly effective. These
need only be in the hundreds or thousands of tracks level. In the future,
with development, the evidence establishes that this solution to internet
piracy is likely to be effective.

Solution III: CopySense

43. In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 2000 and
the relevant legislation governing higher education institutions require all
universities to control illegal file sharing on their networks. Charles
Benjamin, the senior network and systems administrator for the
Department of Housing and Residents in the University of Florida, gave
evidence as to how the system functions in the University. This is called
44. Every student who enters the University receives an email which
informs them that they are to avoid the violation of copyright through
peer-to-peer downloading. Despite this, many students in their first time
regularly upload and download music which is subject to copyright. In
response to this, the university has a graduated series of sanctions. The
implementation of that graduated response is achieved by the use of the
CopySense programme produced by Audible Magic. The University
evaluated it as most appropriate for its needs because it had a database of
six million signatures of copyright works, when it was first chosen, and
now has increased that to some eight million tracks. Mr. Benjamin, in his
witness statement described how it works:-
“It operates like an anti-virus programme in a sense that there is a
database of signatures, in the case of CopySense signatures of
copyright media, frequently updated that is compared to data being
transmitted on the network. It creates a violation notice which we
use to place the student in a restricted [network], disrupting the P2P
transmission and restricting internet access to the … campus. It
does not monitor the contents of email, web travel, instant
messaging, FDP, newsgroups, legal copyrights works being
downloaded etc. It only monitors peer-to-peer protocol.”

45. The system is not connected to the University of Florida network.

Instead, the transmissions are mirrored under a parallel system and
analysed. Once a violation is detected, the CopySense programme is
mandated to interrupt the communication, immediately terminating it, and
sending a warning notice to the students. The system does not cause any
disruption of the network, because of the manner in which it is deployed.
Instead, the network is made available for legitimate peer-to-peer activity.
46. The level at which this succeeds is less than with a medium size
internet service provider, such as UCP, which has 150,000 customers. The
university has 49,000 students, with 200 buildings in the Housing
Department and with 10,000 Ethernet connections for the students that
live in the university. The formal graduated response was described by
Mr. Benjamin in this way:-
“We then operate a system of giving warning notices to students
who attempt to share copyright material, essentially it is a
graduated response. Accordingly when a student is first detected
sharing or downloading copyright material with a peer-to-peer
programme, they are sent an email warning them of the violation
and are directed to a web page. The web page contains the unique
case number, the violation level, and the type of peer-to-peer
protocol that was detected and a description of the [University
Housing Unit] acceptable usage policies… The students must click “I
will comply” before the restriction is lifted. In the first occasion the
student is restricted to on campus usage for 30 minutes. If there is a
second violation the student is restricted to on campus usage for
five days and if there is a third violation, the student is directed to
appear before the Housing Judicial Office. It is remarkably effective.
We do not get a lot of repeat offenders, less than 2% proceed to
level 3. Statistics show that the three graduated response system
educates the student not to use P2P software in conjunction with
copyrighted material. We have seen consistent results in each
semester since the installation.”
47. On the issue of privacy, the inspection maintained by CopySense on
the appliance which mirrors the university network access to the internet
does not violate privacy. The university is not looking at content. Instead,
similar considerations apply as in the DtecNet solution. There are some

instances where the university does monitor the content of

communications, but this is not one of them. There are therefore no
implications in respect of privacy.
48. The strong effectiveness of the CopySense solution within the
University of Florida is dependent on the high levels of detection that the
system displays, the discipline inherent within the university setting and
the ultimate sanction of expulsion that may emerge for repeated
violations. As I understand Mr. Benjamin, for a modern student to be
denied internet access is to place them in a position where they would be
left dependent on text books; many lectures are also offered or
summarised online. In effect, this will leave the student without vital
research resources and result in the termination of their relationship with
the university. In consequence, the very good results can be explained by
that, but only in part. While I accept that a student group is quite different
from an outside internet service provider and its customers, it is also
apparent that detection and warning have a salutary effect on those who
seek to violate copyright. This solution does not undermine the
effectiveness of the network. The first and second stages of the process
are automated. Six dedicated staff and some part-timers manage the
system. I am satisfied that this is not a severe burden as those employees
also manage the telephone system and security monitoring for the
housing network.
49. The system can be by-passed by the student returning home and, in
the absence of similar general controls through internet service providers
in the United States, violating copyright in a private setting. Nonetheless it
is clear that the system is enormously effective, it does not impact on the
network efficiency, is balanced in its approach by way of a graduated
response and has no impact on privacy. To deploy the CopySense solution
on an internet service provider, with 150,000 customers, would require
testing an appropriate expansion of the system. While detection may not
be 100% effective, I accept Mr. Benjamin’s evidence that it captures the
bulk of violations. Were there a willingness by UPC to engage with such a
system, it could readily be made to work. It is clear why they do not wish
to so engage.

The Attitude of UPC


50. I am not satisfied that the attitude of UPC toward the illegal sharing
of copyright material over the internet is either reasonable or fair. I
believe that the two witnesses who gave evidence on behalf of UPC, Anna
Coyle and Conor Harrison, were intentionally placed by their employer in
an impossible position. They are not the controlling minds behind UPC in
Ireland. They do not set UPC policy. In the light of all the evidence, I
accept what Dick Doyle, on behalf of the recording companies said in
relation to the description as to its services offered by UPC in a magazine
entitled “Fusion, Issue No. 3”. This offers various broadbands speeds,
under the titles of Fiber 5, Fiber 15 and Fiber 30. It is a dubious
encouragement to purchase internet access. This is a domestic offering, it
should be noted, not a commercial one. The offering is a commercial use
of internet piracy and an encouragement of it. The following quote
appears that describes the service:-
“Fiber 15:
A download speed of 15Mb is suitable for users who regularly
download or send large files such as music or movies. This speed
also supports online gamers and video calling, which is becoming
more and more popular with our customers. An ideal pack for
51. The Court regards this, in accepting Mr Doyle’s evidence as
accurate, as the exploitation by UPC of the difficulties of the recording
companies with piracy. On its own, this could be regarded as offering
increased bandwidth for legal purposes, such as gaming. The
correspondence does not support that view as a probability. This view is
not taken in isolation, but is backed up by disturbing written evidence
which the UPC witness could not be expected to explain satisfactorily. The
Court’s comments, in this regard, are not ascribed to these witnesses but
to the defendant UPC, as an organization. In the context of the settlement
of the Eircom case in January 2009, the marketing manager of UPC was
sent an email on 29th January which stated:-
“We should not link what we are doing in marketing (on automatic
upgrades/disconnect) with illegal downloads. We want to distance
ourselves from this debate for as long is possible.”
Later on, there was another email within UPC at high management level:-

“Understand, however even in the face of negative of backlash we

should not say anything about what we think they may be using
bandwidth capacity for. No mention to illegal downloads, rather
focus should be you are exceeding your bandwidth capacity,
therefore we are moving you up a tier or we are disconnecting you.
There will be a lot of attention of this topic going forward. I would
not want a situation whereby users on boards. ie on receipt of a
letter/verbal feedback from us, write up that we are taking steps
because we think they might be using capacity to do smth illegal. I
would not want anything out there in the public domain that may
give them an extra stick to beat us with us. This settlement would
be more than enough ammunition for them. I wouldn’t want to give
them anything extra.”
This was then followed by a reference to the UPC policy which, in
summary may be quoted as follows as to the obligation which they impose
upon their customers on providing internet service:-
“As a general principal you must not use the services in any way
that is unlawful or illegal or in any way that effects the enjoyment
of other users of the services or the internet.”
52. Specific provisions exist whereby UPC may terminate a customer’s
service for the infringement of copyright. They have never done this, nor
do they have any interest in doing it. Specifically the UPC customer
contract provides:-
“Any images, photographs, articles, pages, designs, drawings,
software, music, information and other materials published on the
internet and the services are protected by copyright. Published
material on the internet and on the services does not mean that it
is available for anyone to copy. Unless the owner of that copyright
specifically states that you may copy their work, you should assume
that you cannot. It is an infringement of copyright to reproduce,
adapt, translate, broadcast or perform copyright protected material
without permission, to make infringing copies available to the public
or otherwise to knowingly deal in infringing copies. The services
must not be used, directly or indirectly to transmit, publish, link to
otherwise make available any confidential information or trade
secrets of any person or empathy. You shall not post, publish,

transmit, link to, otherwise make available re-transmit or store

material on our through any UPC systems, services or products
and/or undertake any activity, which infringes or breaches any third
party intellectual property rights (which shall include but not be
limited to copyrights, trademarks, design rights, trade secret
patents, rights of privacy and publicity, moral rights and
performance rights). For the avoidance of doubt, the installation or
distribution of “pirated software” or other software products that
are not appropriately licensed to the customer will constitute a
violation of intellectual property rights. In the event of any
disagreement as to whether materials posted, transmitted, re-
transmitted or stored by a customer or in contravention of this
section, the decision of UPC shall be final.”
53. The Court finds as a matter of fact that UPC has no interest in doing
anything other than making deceptive noises by reference to its
acceptable usage policy. Unlike in the case of a non-payment of a bill, UPC
intends to do nothing about copyright piracy. In an email of 3rd February
2009 the following appears as the attitude of UPC:-
“To come back to you all on this and provide feedback from today’s
SMT: Firstly, we have no comment to make on the Eircom/IRMA
agreement – this is a confidential agreement between those two
parties and is only of relevance to them. AMB has an old (Corp
agreed) holding statement that will continue to be used for any
immediate query on p2p generally (ie not this case). Secondly, to
confirm we make no reference to this case, nor should speculate as
to why we think users might be exceeding their bandwidth capacity
in the context of moving customers up to new products tiers.
Finally, Regulatory determine if any further action can be gleaned
from Eircom’s legal strategy on the case above. SMT indicated no
other action required for the time being.”
54. In a further dishonest reference at high level within UPC to confuse
the newspapers and radio and television media, UPC decided to
effectively hide its own policy so that no responsible journalist would have
the material to ask difficult questions. This email, dated 5th March 2009,

“Sorry, one last small change to the 4 th bullet: I deleted reference to

a probably ““policy””, to avoid anyone asking for a copy.”
55. This is a requirement from the very top of UPC, as an international
company, to require no reference to its own anti-copyright theft customer
policy. I emphasise that neither Conor Harrison nor Anna Coyle were the
author of any of these distasteful communications. Instead, it is apparent
that they are working for an organisation which has possibly not thought
through how unfair this approach is. The actions of UPC must be now
analysed as to whether their conduct of their business is lawful.
56. The Court is not to be involved in the grant of injunctive relief in the
on-going role of supervision. Instead, were UPC, or any other company, to
be willing to pursue internet theft by discouraging it through detection and
the interruption of transmission, that would clearly be possible. The
evidence establishes this with abundant clarity. UPC have presented
evidence that their cooperation with a three strikes and then cut off
solution, or a diversion solution, or an interruption solution, would be
costly and disproportionately difficult. I can accept none of that evidence.
It suffices to say that were these solutions to present as economically
attractive, UPC would pursue them. In the dispute between EMI and
Eircom, which was settled as previously indicated, a pilot project is
underway over three months, with a view to determining the final
modalities of the solution. This, the evidence establishes, will not cause
excessive expense and will, I am convinced by the evidence put before the
Court by Mr. Michael Walsh, be possible and practicable.
57. Further, none of the other solutions would be disproportionately
expensive in time or expense. None of the contradicting evidence from
UPC establishes in any way that I can accept that any such solution would
be disproportionately expensive or burdensome. On the contrary, the basic
systems of customer interaction are already in place. The excuses given
are empty. In order, however, to grant an injunction, the court must be
satisfied that it is just and convenient to impose a particular and specific
solution on parties to litigation. An analysis should therefore be conducted
as to whether other steps are open to the recording companies. The legal
basis of injunctive relief, should no other remedy be legally available, then
requires analysis.

Alternatives to an Injunction
58. It is definitively established by the evidence that, without the
assistance of UPC, the recording companies cannot discover the identity of
those who are infringing their copyright. Once that IP address is
communicated to UPC as infringing copyright, by the recording companies
which find an infringement, they can readily search in respect of the time
and date, thereby finding the subscriber over whose line the infringement
took place. Whereas this process does not now appear to be automated,
there is nothing in the evidence to suggest that the ordinary application of
ingenuity to save time and money, the very essence of computer
technology, cannot readily be applied to make this search a simple and
inexpensive process. Any suggestion to the contrary in the evidence, I
59. In Norwich Pharmacal v. Custom and Excise [1974] A.C. 133, the
House of Lords in a different context, established the right of a person who
claimed that a civil wrong had been perpetrated to obtain a court order
against a party holding information that would enable the identification of
the wrongdoer. Thus, for instance, where a car accident takes place, and a
proposed plaintiff knows no more than a registration number, were this
number not publicly available, or subject somehow to confidentiality, that
proposed plaintiff could bring an action against the licensing authority to
uncover the name and address of the party alleged to be responsible for
the accident, so that an action might be brought.
60. It is established beyond doubt in this jurisdiction that Norwich
Pharmacal orders are available in the appropriate circumstances. In EMI v.
Eircom Limited [2005] 4 I.R. 148, Kelly J. made a number of orders
whereby the plaintiff in that action, who are also the recording company
plaintiffs here, compelled Eircom, as an internet service provider to
disclose the names of its infringing customers. The plaintiffs made the
case successfully that their copyright had been infringed and
demonstrated a series of IP addresses of the responsible subscriber. The
judgment of Kelly J. declares that where a wrongful activity has been
committee by unknown persons, an order may be made requiring a
defendant to identify such persons for the purposes of legal action.

61. In the Federal Court of Appeal in Canada case of B.M.G. Canada Inc
v. Doe [2005] FCA 193 Sexton J. speaking for the Court, said at paras. 40
to 42:-
“Intellectual Property laws originated in order to protect the
promulgation of ideas. Copyright law provides incentives for
innovators - artists, musicians, inventors, writers, performers
and marketers - to create. It is designed to ensure that ideas
are expressed and developed instead of remaining dormant.
Individuals need to be encouraged to develop their own talents
and personal expression of artistic ideas, including music. If
they are robbed of the fruits of their efforts, their incentive to
express their ideas in tangible form is diminished.

Modern technology such as the Internet, has provided

extraordinary benefits for society, which include faster and
more efficient means of communication to wider audiences.
This technology must not be allowed to obliterate those
personal property rights which society has deemed important.
Although privacy concerns must also be considered, it seems to
me that they must yield to public concerns for the protection of
intellectual property rights in situations where infringement
threatens to erode those rights.

Thus, in my view in cases where plaintiffs show that they have

a bona fide claim that unknown persons are infringing their
copyright, they have a right to have the identity revealed for
the purpose of bringing action. However, caution must be
exercised by the courts in ordering such disclosure to make
sure that privacy rights are invaded in the most minimal way."
62. The judgment of Kelly J. and the judgment of Sexton J. uphold
the basic principle established in the Norwich Pharmacal case that
where a person, perhaps without fault, get entangled in the tortious
acts of others in a way that facilitates their wrong-doing, while no
personal liability may be incurred, a duty is establish to assist the
person wronged by disclosure of relevant information and of the
identity of the wrong-doer. Norwich Pharmacal orders are therefore

clearly established as an alternative to this injunctive relief. The

evidence establishes, however that this process is burdensome and,
ultimately, futile as a potential solution to the problem of internet
piracy. Helen Sheedy has given evidence of the time, trouble and
expense involved in the pursuit of this remedy. That remedy would
become simple and inexpensive if appropriate legislative intervention
occurred, placing such an obligation by law on the internet service
providers by inexpensive application to the District Court. This
obligation, for instance, has been imposed in other European countries
as a preferred solution to internet theft. After obtaining orders in the
High Court, each of the prospective defendants were written to and the
evidence against them was put to them. Proceedings were issued in
only three cases. In one case the recording companies were satisfied
the person was not liable at all. In the two other cases the proceedings
were settled, one of which related to a son who had left his father’s
home. To identify 17, 49 and 23 names, through the three cases
seeking Norwich Pharmacal orders, cost €680,000 to pay solicitors and
barristers on some sides. Some settlements were effected, returning
€80,000. The other alternative open is that of information campaigners
to educate the public. This did not work. There were international and
local press releases at the time of these cases. For a month or two an
impact was observed on the incidences of infringements. They quickly
returned to their previous level as if nothing had happened.
63. The response of the persons contacted by the recording
companies’ solicitor in consequence of their names being discovered
was described thus by Mr. Sheedy:-
“The largest single category were the children of the individuals
we communicated with. I was surprised, there were a number of
professional firms and the horror when they found out what was
going on in their premises, I completely believed that they didn’t
realize that it was going on. In one case this company [Boss]
had an internet line which was shared with his own and his son
at home was doing it but it looked like his firm was doing it. In
another case an employee, a secretary of the firm, was doing
the uploading on her company’s time… in the great majority [it
was young people downloading music]. There were some older

people who felt they had the right to do it and a lot of older
people told me they had the right to do it.”
64. It thus emerges from Ms. Sheedy’s evidence that in the vast
majority of cases, in this random sample of 17, 49 and 23 illegal
downloaders, between the years 2005 and 2007, that there was a
willingness to desist on being faced with the threat of court
proceedings. I take this evidence into account when considering the
graduated response solution to the problem posed by internet piracy.
65. This evidence convinces me that there is no just or convenient
solution open to the record companies other than seeking injunctive
relief against the internet service provider, in this case UPC. It is
argued by UPC, that were injunctions to be granted rights of privacy
would be infringed and that an injunction would be disproportionate to
the menace that internet piracy represents.

66. The existence of a right to privacy is not in doubt; as Hamilton P. in
Kennedy v. Ireland [1987] I.R. 587 put it, ‘[t]he right to privacy is not an
issue, the issue is the extent of that right or the extent of that right “to be
left alone”. It has been consistently invoked in the courts over the years;
see, for example, X v. Flynn (Unreported, High Court, Costello J., 19th May,
1994) and Re Article 26 and the Employment Equality Bill 1996 [1997] 2
I.R. 321. Despite this, privacy as a right is difficult to define adequately.
The Irish courts have grappled with the scope of the right since it was first
recognised in McGee v. Attorney General [1974] I.R. 284 as an
unenumerated right, flowing from the State’s undertaking to defend and
vindicate the personal rights of every citizen under Article 40.3.1 of the
Constitution. Privacy in the modern panoptic society must be flexible
enough to address new technologies and developments and their privacy
implications while at the same time certain enough as to offer guidance
and clarity as a matter of law. Keeping this tension in mind, it is extremely
difficult to arrive at an appropriate definition. Description is therefore
67. The right to privacy has been said to encapsulate the ‘right to be left
alone’ (per Walsh J. in his dissenting judgment as a judge of the European
Court of Human Rights in Dudgeon v. United Kingdom (1981) 4 E.H.R.R.

149) or as “the fundamental value of personal autonomy” (per Sedley L.J.

in Douglas v. Hello! [2001] 1 Q.B. 967 at para. 126) – the right of the
individual to exercise control over information, possessions and conduct of
a personal nature and, as an obvious corollary, the right to prevent others
from accessing this information. On an international level this State is a
signatory to various treaties which clearly enumerate the right to privacy.
The most important of these is contained in Article 8 of the European
Convention on Human Rights which provides, inter alia, that “[e]veryone
has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his
correspondence”. This right to ‘be left alone’ has spawned a considerable
amount of data protection legislation, most noticeably at a European level
(See, for example, Parliament and Council Directive 95/46/EC of 24
October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the
processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data O.J. L
281 23.11.1995 [“the Data Protection Directive”]) and on a domestic
level, principally through the Data Protection Act 1988, as amended.
68. I find it impossible to recognise as a matter of constitutional law,
that the protection of the entitlement to be left in the sphere of private
communications could ever extend to conversations, emails, letters,
phonecalls or any other communication designed to further a criminal
enterprise. Criminals leave the private sphere when they infringe the
rights of other, or conspire in that respect. Legislative intervention may
mean detection involves a statutory infringement: leaving the admission of
evidence to be decided on the balance of respect for the law and the
seriousness of what is involved. In the case of internet file sharing to
infringe copyright, I am of the view that there are no privacy or data
protection implications to detecting unauthorised downloads of copyright
material using peer-to-peer technology; (see, EMI Records (Ireland)
Limited v. Eircom Limited [2010] IEHC 108, (Unreported, High Court,
Charleton J., 16th April, 2010). In this regard, I am taking into account the
fact that the process of detection through DtecNet is essentially
anonymous. As previously emphasised, a communication between the
recording companies and an internet service provider, having used the
facilities offered by the DtecNet, that in a particular month a certain one
hundred subscribers downloaded an average of twenty copyright
protected tracks each, illegally, giving a date and time and the IP address,

discloses no information publicly. The recording companies do not thereby

harvest the names and addresses of infringers of copyright for data
purposes, or for future communication or for evidence in a potential
criminal case. They get nothing apart from a set of numbers. As between
UPC and their customers, any solution to this illegal activity is conducted
privately as between them. They already know each other, as they are
joined by a contract. That communication is within the range of matters
over which an internet service provider is entitled to deal with its
customer. The abuse of an internet service for copyright theft is a serious
matter from the point of view of the general enforcement of copyright
protection. An internet service provider is entitled to have a policy against
it. In this instance, it is apparent that UPC pretends to have such a policy.
The existence of a genuine anti-piracy policy would enhance the public
standing of any corporation and is a matter in respect of which they have
an interest. Enforcing a private contract, in this context, does not have
privacy implications. Any form of blocking on that customer and internet
service provider basis does not carry a privacy implication. If the response
is a graduated one, as opposed to a blocking of communications merely on
a basis of identifying its nature and the relevant IP number, no privacy
implication arises. As Professor Nixon put it:-
“If to achieve the goal of identifying that you have to do other
things, like store the IP addresses of where it came from and where
it went to, and various other things, and you are spotting those for
infringing and non infringing uses, then I would start to worry about
that information being stored, and how it is being used, for what
purposes… In a graduated response, they are not, the DtecNet guys
are looking at every communication that goes through the UPC
network. What they are doing they are joining a particular stream
of communications that is in this peer-to-peer network, which has by
default at this moment in time, lets say 60%, 70%, 90% of the
people who are on it are sharing infringing material, and you pick
those people and you store the information. Now I don’t think so - I
think that is reasonable… nobody is exposing anything in these
networks, apart from the fact that they have an IP address, some
made up user name, and the files that they are infringing, or the

files they are not infringing. So, that information is made publicly
available [over the network anyway] so, that is fine.”
69. Mr. Sehested had a similar view. He said:-
“I mean all of the information that we capture is publicly transmitted
information that anyone with an internet communication and a
peer-to-peer programme, that is freely downloadable, would be able
to capture. Again all the files that we capture here are files that are
actively made available by the users… [i]n this case specifically we
are solely looking for sound recording. So we only look for content
that is part of that file that we have been given to monitor for.”
70. That evidence is the basis of my conclusion that the right of privacy
is not engaged by the scrutiny of files publicly made available for
copyright theft on the internet and nor is it engaged by deep packet
inspection for the purpose of detecting and diverting or disenabling such

Response to Warning
71. The evidence establishes that detection, Solution I, followed by
warning over three occasions and eventual discontinuance of internet
access will succeed in strongly alleviating the problem of internet piracy.
There is a strong probability that a graduated response would yield a
majority level of desistance from the practice of illegal downloading on a
first warning. In that regard, I take into account the evidence of Charles
Benjamin, of Anna Coyle, of Professor Nixon and Helen Sheehy. Within an
Irish context, the most convincing evidence I heard was that of Helen
Sheehy. In response to the Norwich Pharmacal orders, the majority of
people were described as being embarrassed that they or their family had
stolen copyright material when first communicated with. Those who were
responsible tended to admit the fact; and some were being made aware
that a practice in which they disapproved has been carried out through
family members. A survey was put to Professor Nixon whereby it was
indicated that seven out of ten people would cease internet piracy if
warned. His response, in that regard, was appropriately cautious. He noted
that there was hope that most people would alter their behaviour. Within
the realm of a university, from which perspective Mr. Benjamin spoke, the
situation is persuasive, though not precisely comparable. The result of the

University of Florida policy not to tolerate internet piracy over their

network has been an extremely high level of response on the first warning
of those warned; only 1% went to the final level whereby they were
required to consult with a disciplinary officer within the University. Mr.
Benjamin is of the view that even if the system which he employed was
not achieving 100% detection, that it was certainly achieving detection of
repeat offenders. Bringing this process partly out into the open, where by
internet thieves are privately communicated with, can be predicted in
most instances to shame them out of their behaviour. They then become
as the seller of pirated DVDs outside the cinema. I reject all UPC evidence
to the contrary. In the situation of general internet service provision in
Ireland, those who are determined may tend to ride out the warnings, to
offer excuses in relation to violations, to seek a ruling against their
provider and, if unsuccessful, to move to one of another dozen or so
internet service providers. I am satisfied that these persons will be in the
small minority. Further, I am satisfied that the current age profile for
internet piracy indicates a use of home computers at a residence where at
least some of those involved are subject to family admonition. Others will
be embarrassed at being detected. The evidence establishes that this will
make up a substantial majority.

General Record
72. The recording companies are, as a matter of preference, seeking an
injunction from the Court whereby, on a third detection of infringement, on
a month-by-month basis for each infringement, the person involved will be
barred from any internet access. There is no general register for those who
are cut off from internet service for not paying their bills. I am satisfied
from the evidence of Anna Coyle, that there is some degree of informal
communication, but that if it happens, it is rare. There is no plea in this
case that a general register should be created of those who have been
cut-off from internet access due to failure to pay a bill or due to repeated
violations of a prohibition against internet piracy. To set up such a register
may well have data protection implications. I do not need to comment on
any issues that might so arise. As the solution is now proposed, there is no

73. A warning can be important in the adjudication of whether an
injunction is to be justly granted. Much correspondence has been
exchanged between the parties. This, on the one hand, makes the case
that the network of UPC is being used by its customers to infringe the
copyright held by the recording companies. UPC, on the other hand,
demonstrates in its written replies, a careful series of arguments to the
affect that they are merely a conduit between its customers and others.
Furthermore, they argue that the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000
does not allow for the making of an injunction against them or require
them to take action, in respect of copyright piracy since s. 40 of the Act
declares in subs. (3) that the provision of facilities for enabling the making
available to the public of copies of a work does not of itself constitute that
action. It is where a person who provides facilities is notified by the owner
of the copyright in the work concerned, that such facilities are being used
to infringe copyright in that work, then unless the person so notified,
removes the infringing material as soon as practicable, then liability for
copyright infringement is established under subs (4). Solely at issue is
whether the recording companies have notified the UPC that its facilities
are being used to infringe copyright. As to whether this constitutes the
making available to the public of copies of a work and as to whether any of
the solutions deposited by the recording companies to peer-to-peer
internet piracy of their work constitutes a step “to remove that infringing
material” is a separate matter, dealt with later in this judgment.
74. By letter dated 13th February 2009, Helen Sheehy, on behalf of the
recording companies, made the case that the law obliged UPC to act in the
manner similar to the agreement reached with Eircom in January 2009.
The parties there contracted for a three stage response to internet piracy.
The recording companies were to alert them to infringements through the
use of DtecNet on a month-by-month basis. If, in the first month, an
infringement was notified in the appropriate format, Eircom were to write
to its customers by way of an education policy; as to the possibility of the
misuse of a network by an employee, family member or, possibly,
someone within the range of their wireless router. On a second
infringement, a sterner letter was to be written. On a third infringement,
the customer was to be disconnected as to broadband internet access, but

not as to telephone and television services received over the internet and
not in the case of business customers or those dependent upon the
internet for serious medical reasons.
75. By letter dated 27th February 2009 UPC declared:-
“For the avoidance of doubt UPC Ireland does not condone illegal
file sharing and our policies, procedures and terms and conditions of
service ensure that the company complies with all prevailing laws in
Ireland. UPC has recently taken legal steps to prevent various forms
of copyright infringement of content on our cable and MMDS
network, therefore, be assured we are motivated to address illegal
activity on our networks in general, including piracy and copyright
infringement. On that basis we are happy to discuss with your
clients and all other stake holders on a multilateral basis (to include
other rightholders, fellow ISPs the Data Protection Commission,
Consumer and Piracy Groups etc). Any practical initiatives that can
be taken to address the concern of the illegal file sharing within the
confines of the law. The measures proposed in your letter are,
however unacceptable and do not take account of the rights and
interests of subscribers and ISPs and we cannot agree these as a
basis for discussion. Moreover, it appears your request is that we
should simply agree to sign up to a similar private arrangement that
you have with another party…”
76. As has emerged, I am not at all satisfied that the response by UPC
was genuine. It is apparent that UPC vigorously pursue customers who
exceed the limit on their broadband package, and charge them more on a
unilateral basis in appropriate cases. This provision of their acceptable
usage policy is pursued entirely on a profit motive basis.
77. By letter dated 14th May 2009, Helen Sheehy, on behalf of the
recording companies, formally put UPC on notice, that their facilities were
being used to infringe copyright in sound recordings owned by the
recording companies. In part, the letter reads:-
“We are of the view that UPC is on notice of illegal file sharing on its
network, following upon the High Court disclosure action reference
number 4368P/2005. Since our letter to you dated the 13th February
2009 random scans of the peer-to-peer to activity on your network
show that the activity is continuing. I enclose details of random

samples of illegal peer-to-peer activity on Direct Connect, Gnutella

and Ares protocols on the UPC network for March and April of 2009.
Our clients are of the view that your failure to remove illegal
material, when you are aware that it is on your network, and
constantly travelling through your network has the effect of making
you also liable for copyright infringement pursuant to s. 40(4) of the
Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. We are calling on you now
to remove infringing material from your network and whilst the
manner in which you do this is matter for you. We… are suggesting
that this may be done as was done by Eircom by agreement with
copyright holders who are prepared to work with you to stop the
massive breaches of copyright taking place on your network. If you
are not prepared to remove illegal material from your network then
we have no option but to take legal action to protect our client’s
78. I am satisfied on the evidence that a number of scans were
conducted on some 350 popular tracks over a few days in March and April
of 2009. I am also satisfied that the evidence establishes definitively that
the UPC internet network was then being used, and is now being used, for
the illegal copying of valuable copyright material owned by the recording
companies. I am satisfied that this abuse is widespread and, as analysed
elsewhere in this judgment, constitutes the majority use, if not the great
majority use, of peer-to-peer traffic.
79. The material enclosed showed first of all a case summary indicating
user name, IP address, date of when the user was last online, downloaded
files and the internet service provider to whom the relevant IP address was
assigned. On the 18th May 2009, UPC replied that the individuals “may or
may not be our customers”. That is not an honest answer. It was denied
that there was any infringing material on the network and, instead, it was
stated that what was involved was merely the provision of “information
that our customers may be using our network to access certain allegedly
infringing material”. The letter goes on to state that UPC “has no liability
for the actions of our customers in this regard as we are a mere conduit.”
Section 40(4) of the Act is referred to as “a take down provision designed
to address infringing material hosted by facilities providers”.

80. Further information was provided from the UPC solicitor by letter
dated 26th May 2009. This time, a file of information as to the use of the
UPC network for infringing copyright material was added to the letters.
81. By letter dated 2nd June 2009, the solicitors on behalf of UPC
reiterated that their client was a mere conduit and, therefore, not liable to
injunctive relief. The letter indicated that there was a right of
communication to the public and that injunctive relief was not available
under Irish law. In particular they stated that an injunction could not be
granted on a non-individualised basis “through an unverified, automated
process”. In that regard, the Court would comment that the DtecNet
system of infringement has, as is stated elsewhere in this judgment, being
demonstrated to be accurate. Further, there was no question put which
undermined the reliable nature of that system.
82. On any graduated response to infringement, the letter continued:-
“We consider that such an approach would be inconsistent with the
recent re-introduction by the European Parliament of Amendment
138/46 to the current proposals to revise the European Telecoms
Regulations (which we understand are in principle supported by the
Irish Government), which will make it illegal for any EU member
state to introduce legislation that would allow a citizen’s internet
connection to be disconnected without first being found guilty in
court. This principal would also prevent any inter-industry
agreement that facilitated the disconnection of a citizen’s internet
access without a court order. As a result, there is no basis for your
client to pursue with other ISPs a graduated response system in
similar terms to that agreed with Eircom.

Our client takes the rights of its customers very seriously, including
in the areas of data protection and privacy. Our client will of course
comply with any court order your client’s may obtain in respect of a
particular customer of our client that is held to be infringing our
client’s copyright. In addition, in incidents where our client may
provide hosting facilities, our client will continue to comply and
enforce the applicable notify and take down policy in appropriate

Finally, for the avoidance of doubt, our client’s reference to “key

stake holders” has been consistent throughout our client’s
correspondence and such stake holders were enumerated in
particular in our client’s letter to you of 27th February 2009. In spite
of our client’s view that it has no liability for the copyright
infringement of its customers, if any, for the reasons set out above,
our client confirms that it would be prepared to participate in a
discussion process with all stake holders on the issue of illegal file
sharing which is convened by your clients. We note however, that
our client will only participate on the basis that any proposals are
consistent with the European Parliament’s proposals set out above
and with the general principles that network access should only be
disabled in accordance with an order of the Court.”
83. Having regard to the entirety of this correspondence the Court is
satisfied as to two matters. Firstly, there has been notification to UPC
within the meaning of s. 40 of the Act. Secondly, there has been no
reasonable offer of engagement by UPC with a view to eradicating or
substantially diminishing copyright piracy. In this regard, the Court fully
accepts the evidence of Dick Doyle. The evidence analysed in the course
of this judgment also establishes that detection, warning and
discontinuance are, each of them, proportionate to the vast scale of the
problem established in evidence.
84. I now turn to the relevant principles for the grant of an
injunction and proceed to analyse national law, in the context of our
European legal obligations, and contrast the measures in place in Ireland
with the legislation in Europe and the United States of America.

Authority of the Court

85. An injunction is never available simply because the Court deprecates
a situation or has no respect for the defence offered to participation in a
grave economic wrong against copyright holders. In the course of
argument, mention was made of the constitutional protection afforded to
copyright: in particular, in Phonographic Performance Ireland Limited v.
Cody [1998] 4 I.R. 504, Keane J. at p.511 stated that the right to be
identified with a creative work, and to enjoy protection whereby others are

not allowed to copy it without permission was protected by the

“The right of the creator of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic
work not to have his or her creation stolen or plagiarised is a right
of private property within the meaning of article 40.3.2° and Article
43.1 of the Constitution of Ireland, 1937, as is the similar right of a
person who has employed his or her technical skills and/or capital
in the sound recording of a musical work. As such, they can hardly
be abolished in their entirety, although it was doubtless within the
competence of the Oireachtas to regulate their exercise in the
interests of the common good. In addition and even in the absence
of any statutory machinery, it is the duty of the organs of the
State, including the courts, to ensure, as best they may, that these
rights are protected from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice
done, vindicated.”
86. The courts must defer, however, to the manner in which the
Oireachtas circumscribes and regulates the enforcement of those rights.
The Court is bound, in that regard, the matter having been considered by
the Oireachtas, to apply the law within the four corners of the Copyright
and Related Rights Act 2000. It might be possible to argue that in the
absence of such protection, that the Court was mandated to use the
amplitude of its powers in order to vindicate the injustice that is at the
heart of this case. Further, it might be possible to argue that even in the
absence of a primary actionable wrong that an injunction might be granted
in relation to a morally indefensible action; see Prince Albert v Strange
(1849) 2 De & Sm 293 where an injunction was granted for breach of
confidence, not then a defined tort, and, more recently, Douglas v Hello!
[2002] 2 A.C. 457. To act in this way, however, would be to ignore the
power of the Oireachtas to regulate rights in accordance with a just
scheme of legislation that balances the exercise of those rights with the
responsibility of living within an ordered society. In some rare instances,
the courts may also directly enforce Bunreacht na hÉireann through
injunctive relief where no remedy is already set out in law. The courts are
not entitled, on the other hand, to take an area which has been properly
legislated for as to the extent and balance of rights by the Oireachtas and
to take a different view. For the Court to pursue the course of granting an

injunction on the basis not of law but of economic abuse or moral turpitude
would lead the Court beyond the threshold of the judicial arm of
government and into legislation. It would undermine respect for the rule of
law: for no one would know quite what the rule of law might be if it
depended on attitudes forged through legal argument in individual cases
as to what was acceptable conduct. The danger that would arise would be
that the Court could then be described by reasonable people as acting on
the basis of preference, were the Court to use any wider and wrongly
assumed right to injunct behaviour in the same way that the tort of
conspiracy was historically used against trade union action by judges in
England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, up to the passing of the
Trade Disputes Act 1906, and some would argue, beyond.
87. Therefore, the only proper response to this problem is to consider
the precise scope of the legislative framework as set out in the Act and
whatever aspect of European legislation might legitimately be used as an
aid in interpreting national law.
88. I therefore turn to the legislation.

The Right to Copy

89. Section 17 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 definitively
indicates the extent of the constitutional right to own creative work:-
“17(1) Copyright is a property right whereby, subject to this
Act, the owner of the copyright in any work may undertake or
authorise other persons in relation to that work to undertake
certain acts in the State, being acts which are designated by
this Act as acts restricted by copyright in a work of that
(2) Copyright subsists, in accordance with this Act, in
(a) original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works,
(b) sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable
(c) the typographical arrangement of published editions,
(d) original databases.
(3) Copyright protection shall not extend to the ideas and principles
which underlie any element of a work, procedures,

methods of operation or mathematical concepts and, in respect

of original databases, shall not extend to their contents and is
without prejudice to any rights subsisting in those contents.
(4) Copyright shall not subsist in a work unless the requirements for
copyright protection specified in this Part with respect to
qualification are complied with.
(5) Copyright shall not subsist in a work which infringes, or to the
extent that it infringes, the copyright in another work.
(6) Copyright shall not subsist in a work which is, or to the extent
that it is, a copy taken from a work which has been previously
made available to the public.”
90. Chapter 4 of the Act defines the rights of the copyright owner, the
most profound of these is to be identified with the work. From the point of
view of legitimate reward for creative effort, the right to make copies of a
work available to the public is vested in the maker of the work by the
following section of the Act:-
“37(1) Subject to the exceptions specified in Chapter 6 and to any
provisions relating to licensing in this Part, the owner of the
copyright in a work has the exclusive right to undertake or
authorise others to undertake all or any of the following acts,
(a) to copy the work;
(b) to make available to the public the work;
(c) to make an adaptation of the work or to undertake
either of the acts referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) in
relation to an adaptation,
and those acts shall be known and in this Act referred to as
“acts restricted by copyright”.

(2) The copyright in a work is infringed by a person who without the

licence of the copyright owner undertakes, or authorises another
to undertake, any of the acts restricted by copyright.
(3) References to the undertaking of an act restricted by the
copyright in a work shall relate to the work as a whole or to any
substantial part of the work and to whether the act is undertaken
directly or indirectly.”

91. Under s. 43 no one is entitled to infringe copyright by adapting a

work. Under s. 42 lending rights are restricted. Under s. 41 the author of
the work can restrict circulation, whether by sale, rental or loan, or
otherwise of the work. Under s. 39 the right of the owner to control the
reproduction of the work is defined. This concept of reproduction includes
the storing of the work in any medium, or making copies which are
transient. A two dimensional work may not be copied in three dimensional
format, and vice versa. Photographing a film or television broadcast is
prohibited. Copying a recording or a music score is clearly prohibited.
Changing the typeface in a literary work does not escape copyright. Under
Chapter 8 of the Act, copyright is assignable from the owner and is
transmissible by will. Chapter 9 of the Act deals with the remedies
available to copyright owners. These include quite draconian remedies of
seizure; of obtaining a declaration from Court that ceased copies of a work
are no longer the property of the copyright thief, but of the owner; and
include rights to take possession of equipment used to infringe copyright.
The described provisions are set at nought by internet theft, unless it can
be stopped. Furthermore, the declaration by the European Union of the
entitlements that are to be ascribed in copyright to the creative
community, and which are partly expressed in Irish legislation, become
futile in the absence of remedies that bypass internet abuse or which set
up internet access as being a superior right attracting entitlements to
which no other area of infringement would adhere. Among the remedies in
favour of the author declared in the Act are those to damages, and to an
injunction. Section 27 provides that rebroadcasts, except by the
programme makers, for instance of live music, are to be prohibited:-
“27(1) The copyright in a broadcast shall expire 50 years after the
broadcast is first lawfully transmitted.
(2) The copyright in a repeat broadcast shall expire at the
same time as the copyright in the original broadcast and no
copyright shall subsist in a repeat broadcast which is
transmitted after the expiration of the copyright in the
original broadcast.”
92. Briefly, as has been described in detail later in this judgment, the
form of copyright theft at issue here is by peer-to-peer sharing. There, the
copies of the work sit in the home computers, in some instances the work

computers, of many millions of individuals. By joining a swarm, in the

manner described by Mr. Kavanagh in evidence, the material available on
those computers is taken through various networks, and ultimately in
respect of UPC customers, through the UPC network into the computers of
the persons seeking the download. The parties making available copies of
their work, because the system is two-way, include the downloader and
those from whom he or she uploads. I have no doubt, therefore, that it is
not UPC that is making available copies of the work. The work does not
reside on their network, since they do not store it, host it or cache it, terms
explained later in this judgment, but are merely a conduit for it. This,
nonetheless, profoundly affects the right of the copyright owner to make
available copies of the work to the public. The crucial issue is whether the
Act allows the Court to interfere with the transit through the UPC network
of copyright music to those intent on stealing it and offering it for theft on
their home computers. Section 40(1) of the Act declares:-
40(1) References in this Part to the making available to the public of
a work shall be construed as including all or any of the
following, namely:
(a) making available to the public of copies of the work, by
wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of
the public may access the work from a place and at a
time chosen by them (including the making available of
copies of works through the Internet);
(b) performing, showing or playing a copy of the work in
(c) broadcasting a copy of the work;
(d) including a copy of the work in a cable programme
(e) issuing copies of the work to the public;
(f) renting copies of the work;
(g) lending copies of the work without the payment of
remuneration to the owner of the copyright in the work,
and references to “lawfully making available to the public” shall
mean the undertaking of any of the acts referred to in paragraphs
(a) to (g) by or with the licence of the copyright owner.”

93. To crystallise these rights for the purpose of analysis, I take an

example. A very entertaining crime novel called “Degrees of Guilt” was
published last June in London, and the author is Patrick Marrinan. His
copyright in that work lasts for his lifetime and seventy years. It is the kind
of thriller that may be attractive to film companies, and could easily be
adapted into a play. The author’s right to make copies available would be
infringed were a copy of the book to be hosted on the internet; were the
book to be read in public; were the book to be broadcast on television or
radio as a reading; were that to be included in a cable, television or radio
service; were the book to be photocopied as to any substantial part or,
more obviously, reprinted and sold; were the book to be rented out; or
copies of the work lent without any remuneration to the author. The
author’s rights would also be infringed by an adaptation into a film or a
play or a musical or a computer game; see s. 43 of the Act.
94. All of these activities require to be facilitated by people other than
those who are directly intent on breaching copyright. Equipment is needed
for the purpose. The film would require actors and cinematographers
before being shown in a cinema; the play would be shown in a theatre; the
book would be photocopied on a machine; or printed by a printer; the
broadcast would take place through a network; and the pirated copies
would be made available through the internet, either from a hosting site,
or in the case of peer-to-peer transmissions, from the home computers of
many individuals. Providing facilities for this activity is not, of itself, a
breach of copyright. Section 40(3) of the Act provides:-
“40(3)Subject to subsection (4), the provision of facilities for
enabling the making available to the public of copies of a
work shall not of itself constitute an act of making available
to the public of copies of the work.”
95. This section, in its ordinary construction, applies to any of the
activities described in s. 40(1). Facilities are needed, including an internet
service provider, to access a host site containing the work, or to access
peer-to-peer copies of the work residing illegally on home computers.
Facilities are also needed to perform a work in public or to broadcast it,
put it on a cable programme service, print it without permission, rent it
out, or lend copies. The facilities needed will, in each case, differ. In the
case of a library, the situation is simple. The library is a facility whereby

copies of “Degrees of Guilt” are made available. That is a present and a

continuing threat to the rights of the author where he has not so given
permission. In the case of the hosting site on the internet, or a pay for
access cable radio or television service, the work is on the internet site or
in the computer storage facilities of the media company. What can be
done about any of the situations is specified in the legislation. Liability is
not established, unless there is a warning to the individual or company
providing facilities that enable copyright infringement. Even then, the right
of the Court to take action, is severely circumscribed by the wording itself.
The exception from liability for copyright infringement provided in subs.
(3) is qualified in subs (4), so that action can only be taken as follows:-
“(4) Without prejudice to subsection (3), where a person who
provides facilities referred to in that subsection is notified by
the owner of the copyright in the work concerned that those
facilities are being used to infringe the copyright in that work
and that person fails to remove that infringing material as
soon as practicable thereafter that person shall also be liable
for the infringement.”
96. This subsection is to be construed within its context. Its meaning is
to be primarily ascertained from the language chosen by the Oireachtas
whereby its intention is conveyed. Where a provision is obscure,
ambiguous, or a literal interpretation would be absurd, or would fail to
reflect the plain intention of the Oireachtas, that intention should be
ascertained from the Act itself, in order to give effect to the purpose of the
legislature; s. 5 of the Interpretation Act 2005. If the meaning of the text
is, however, unambiguous, the task of the court is to give effect to that
literal meaning. The court is not entitled to give an opinion as to sound
policy by way of a judgment, much less give effect to it, but, rather, to
implement the intention of the Oireachtas. Even though a deviation from
the plain meaning expressed may be desirable, the court has no authority
to pursue any course which would involve rewriting the text. That
approach undermines the rule of law, which is based on predictability and
on the separation of powers.
97. Words are not to be presumed superfluous. Rather, I start from the
position that effect should be given to all of the words within a section, or
subsection, where that is possible. While sometimes, in the way that

lawyers offer pleadings in the alternative, such as a claim for breach of

duty and a claim for negligence, the Oireachtas might well be drawn into
the use of words with a view to emphasising certainty, the ordinary rule as
to economy in the use of language should be applied. An ordinary word
should be given an ordinary meaning but, at times, I find the use of a
dictionary helpful in clarifying an interpretation. The Act contains a
number of specialist terms. These are to be given a technical meaning, but
are not, beyond the use of the word internet, germane to this decision. I
have been assisted in this analysis by the expert re-statement of the
relevant rules in David Dodd ‘Statutory Interpretation in Ireland’ (Tottel,
Dublin, 2008).
98. Under s. 40(5), the Minister is entitled to prescribe the form of a
notice to be given whereby the person who provides facilities to infringe
copyright, and fails to remove the infringing material, becomes liable. The
draft regulation made by officials of the Minister has been referred to in
evidence. I have no regard to it for two reasons. Firstly, it was never
brought into law. Secondly, it constitutes only, at most, a guide to the
opinion of one individual on the interpretation of the interrelatedness of
subs. (1), (3) and (4) of s.40.
99. In the context of the detailed description of peer-to-peer copyright
piracy in this judgment, I ask myself the question, whether internet
facilities such as those sold by UPC are being used to infringe the
copyright in works owned by the recording company. In the present,
though intermittent, sense they are. Each time someone downloads a work
from other peer-to-peer users, the facilities of UPC are then being used to
infringe the copyright owned by the recording company. This is a process
that, for the theft of music takes only seconds, or in the case of a film,
some minutes. In a digital sense, that material can then be argued to be
on the network of UPC. Blocking a customer by removing his internet
access ensures that this process does not take place. That would then
ensure that the facilities cannot be used for internet piracy. That is not,
however, what the subsection says. When, at night, UPC throttle peer-to-
peer communications some packets of information as the start of the
process are discarded. I am satisfied, on the evidence, that they are later
resent. This is relevant, in the context of the interpretation of how the
person or company, whose facilities are being used to enable the making

available to the public of copies of a work, is required to remove that

infringing material. This is made clear in a passage of cross-examination of
Professor Nixon, an expert in computer technology who was called on
behalf of UPC but who demonstrated independence of mind, and therefore
reliability. Notwithstanding the expertise displayed by Mr. Newman for the
recording companies in cross-examination, and the advocacy involved in
leading the professor towards a particular point of view, the Court is
obliged to construe its overall effect fairly. The passage is as follows:-
“Q. Well, the level of the individual data packet… is removed
from the network. Now the data packet may be resent by the
end of the network, but the individual data package is
removed by the network?
A. Discarded, removed.
Q. Yes. So does that not suggest then the idea of removal means
a little bit of more than the removal from that server?
A. No, you see I don’t think it does because the purpose of the
discarding of the packets is to change the behaviour of the
communication in the case of [deep packet inspection] and
throttling and such like. So it is not removing the
communication, it is not removing the information that leaves
one end and arrives at the other end, it is affecting the
overall performance of the communication. If you want to
remove the file, you have to remove it at source.
Q. Well when, for instance, the [deep packet inspection
appliance] removes an individual packet, it is not removing it
from a server, is it?
A. No, it is stopping that piece of data transiting the network.
That small component part of it.
Q. So your understanding of removal seems to be very much
shaped around the idea of whether it is managing to remove
the entire communication or not?
A. The question that was posed is; can you remove a file?
Q. Yes.
A. Can you remove a piece of work? Can you remove an
artefact? To do that you need to remove it from the machines
that it exists on. We have already established that certainly

you stop a communication, but the files still exist on the

machines that it existed on before the communication.
Q. For instance, if a file is being transmitted through a network, I
suppose perhaps put it this way, if a subscriber’s computer is
being regularly used, or perhaps continually used for
resending infringing material over the UPC network, and then
the subscriber stops sending that material over the network,
perhaps because they have received a warning or otherwise,
then is it not correct that that infringing material, it is
removed from the network?
A. Yeah, I mean if it is removed by someone going there or by
the individual stopping, it is still removed.”
100. The procedure described in detail in this judgment for effecting
internet piracy, which involves using UPC as a transit, supports this expert
view as correct. Cutting off access to the computers holding pirated
copyright songs is not to remove infringing material; it is to stop the
transit of that material. Further, as has been analysed in relation to the
possible responses to internet piracy, two of the programmes, namely
CopySense and Global File Registry cannot fairly, on my analysis, be
described as removing material from the internet. Instead, on recognising
the file hash of a copyright work, at the speed of light, these programmes
strike so as to interrupt the transmission and send a warning, in one case,
or in the other, interrupt the transmission and divert the subscriber on to a
place where the track sought illegally for nothing can be obtained legally
for a small fee. This is not, in the ordinary use of language, the removal of
infringing material from the network. Further, as will now be clear, UPC has
been warned by the recording companies that its network is being used for
the infringement of copyright. It has chosen to ignore these warnings and
not to act. By the time the warnings are given, however, although the
material may as a matter of high probability again be transmitted from
time to time through the network, it is not then capable of being removed.
While I do not accept the argument for UPC that s.40(4) of the Act refers
only to an internet service provider hosting a copyright infringing site on
its network, and while I believe that the removal of infringing material
could apply, for instance to DVD lending libraries, the plain wording of the
section in its use of the present tense and its reference to removing the

infringing material, requires that action should be taken in respect of a

then existing situation, not by digital blocking or diverting stratagems, but
by removal. That is simply not possible in the context of a transient
communication. Perhaps, however, the legislation can be looked at
differently in the context of the European law which it has been argued to

European Obligations
101. I turn therefore to the obligations of the State as a member of the
European Union. In that regard, where a Directive places a legislative
obligation on the State, most especially where national legislation, as is
the case in relation to Act of 2000, is concerned to implement its terms
through choice of appropriate measures, that national legislation must be
construed so as to conform with its legislative purpose. Thus, a national
measure must be interpreted in accordance with the obligation of the
State to abide by European law. That obligation arises whether the
legislation was brought into law before or after a directive. This is made
clear by the judgment of the European Court in Marleasing SA v. La
Commercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA [1990] 4 E.C.R I-4135 (C-
106/89), where the European Court of Justice held, at pp. 4158-4159:-
"6. With regard to the question whether an individual may rely
on the directive against a national law, it should be observed that,
as the Court has consistently held, a directive may not of itself
impose obligations on an individual and, consequently, a provision
of a directive may not be relied upon as such against such a person
(judgment in Case 152/84 Marshall v Southampton and South-West
Hampshire Area Health Authority [1986] ECR 723).
7. However, it is apparent from the documents before the Court that
the national court seeks in substance to ascertain whether a
national court hearing a case which falls within the scope of
Directive 68/151 is required to interpret its national law in the light
of the wording and the purpose of that directive in order to preclude
a declaration of nullity of a public limited company on a ground
other than those listed in Article 11 of the directive.
8. In order to reply to that question, it should be observed that, as the
Court pointed out in its judgment in Case 14/83 Von Colson and

Kamann v. Land Nordrhein-Westfalen [1984] ECR 1891, paragraph

26, the Member States' obligation arising from a directive to achieve
the result envisaged by the directive and their duty under Article 5
of the Treaty to take all appropriate measures, whether general or
particular, to ensure the fulfilment of that obligation, is binding on
all the authorities of Member States including, for matters within
their jurisdiction, the courts. It follows that, in applying national law,
whether the provisions in question were adopted before or after the
directive, the national court called upon to interpret it is required to
do so, as far as possible, in the light of the wording and the purpose
of the directive in order to achieve the result pursued by the latter
and thereby comply with the third paragraph of Article 189 of the
9. It follows that the requirement that national law must be interpreted
in conformity with Article 11 of Directive 68/151 precludes the
interpretation of provisions of national law relating to public limited
companies in such a manner that the nullity of a public limited
company may be ordered on grounds other than those exhaustively
listed in Article 11 of the directive in question.”
102. This is a domestic dispute between undertakings, namely the
recording companies and UPC, as to the correct interpretation of national
legislation. The applicability of the principle just stated to this kind of
dispute is not in doubt. In any event, it is made clear in Wilhelm Roith v.
Deutsches Rotes Kreuz [2004] E.C.R. I-8835 (C-397/01), in the course of
which the European Court of Justice made the following observations:-
“111. It is the responsibility of the national courts in particular to
provide the legal protection which individuals derive from the
rules of Community law and to ensure that those rules are
fully effective.
112. That is a fortiori the case when the national court is seized of
a dispute concerning the application of domestic provisions
which, as here, have been specifically enacted for the
purpose of transposing a directive intended to confer rights
on individuals. The national court must, in the light of the
third paragraph of Article 249 EC, presume that the Member
State, following its exercise of the discretion afforded it under

that provision, had the intention of fulfilling entirely the

obligations arising from the directive concerned (see Case C
334/92 Wagner Miret [1993] ECR I-6911, paragraph 20).
113. Thus, when it applies domestic law, and in particular
legislative provisions specifically adopted for the purpose of
implementing the requirements of a directive, the national
court is bound to interpret national law, so far as possible, in
the light of the wording and the purpose of the directive
concerned in order to achieve the result sought by the
directive and consequently comply with the third paragraph
of Article 249 EC (see to that effect, inter alia, the judgments
cited above in Von Colson and Kamann , paragraph 26;
Marleasing , paragraph 8, and Faccini Dori , paragraph 26;
see also Case C 63/97 BMW [1999] ECR I 905, paragraph 22;
Joined Cases C 240/98 to C 244/98 Océano Grupo Editorial
and Salvat Editores [2000] ECR I-4941, paragraph 30; and
Case C 408/01 Adidas-Salomon and Adidas Benelux [2003]
ECR I-0000, paragraph 21).”
103. This principle, it is important to recall, cannot be used beyond the
scope of its proper purpose so as impose a solution which, though in
conformity with an obligation under a directive, contradicts the plain terms
of national law. The obligation of conforming interpretation of national law
in the light of any European law oligation must be implemented “as far as
possible.” This has been explained more fully in the context of the
implementation of a Framework Decision in Case C-105/03 Pupino [2005]
E.C.R. 1-5285 by the European Court:
“The obligation on the national court to refer to the content of
a framework decision when interpreting the relevant rules of
its national law ceases when the latter cannot receive an
application which would lead to a result compatible with that
envisaged by that framework decision. In other words, the
principle of conforming interpretation cannot serve as the
basis for an interpretation of national law contra legem. That
principle does, however, require that, where necessary, the
national court consider the whole of national law in order to
assess how far it can be applied in such a way as not to

produce a result contrary to that envisaged by the framework

104. I must now refer to the complex series of directives concerned with
electronic commerce, with copyright, and under the framework within
which these rights must be upheld. In doing so I note that in the European
Communities (Copyright and Related Rights) Regulations 2004 (S.I. No. 16
of 2004), the explanatory note states that while Ireland was already in
substantial compliance with the directives to which I will now refer, that
instrument made a number of amendments to ensure full compliance by
the State with the relevant European directives. That statement, I regret to
say, is in error.

European Directives
105. First of all, insofar as it may be important, a brief chronology. The
Copyright and Related Rights Acts 2000, was passed on 10th July and
brought into force on 1st June 2001. At that time the E-Commerce
Directive, which I will shortly refer to by its full title, had been passed on
the 8th June 2000. Article 22 of that directive gave the State up to the 17 th
January 2002, to implement its terms. European Parliament and Council
Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright
and related rights in the information society O.J. L167/10 (“The Copyright
Directive”) was passed on 22nd May 2001. It was in draft form, and in the
contemplation of the legislature, when they passed the Copyright and
Related Rights Act 2000. European Parliament and Council Directive
2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic
communications networks or services O.J. 108/33 (“Framework Directive”)
was passed on 7th March 2002. The Communications Regulation Act 2002,
allowing for regulation of internet service providers by The Commission for
Communications Regulation, was passed in the year 2000. This was
followed by the European Community (Directive 2000/31 EC) Regulations
2003 (S.I. No. 68 of 2003).
106. European Parliament and Council Directive 2000/31/EC of 8 June
2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular
electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on Electronic
Commerce), O.J. L178/1 17.7.2000 (“the E-Commerce Directive”) provides
defences to internet service providers who transmit copyright material.

These defences arise when an internet service provider establishes that

they are a mere conduit, or merely hosting information, as in an internet
site, or are caching information, or websites, for instance in order to
enable more ready access to popular search targets. The first of these
defences is set out in Article 12 of the Directive as to "mere conduit"
“1. Where an information society service is provided that
consists of the transmission in a communication network of
information provided by a recipient of the service, or the
provision of access to a communication network, Member
States shall ensure that the service provider is not liable for
the information transmitted, on condition that the provider:
(a) does not initiate the transmission;
(b) does not select the receiver of the transmission; and
(c) does not select or modify the information contained in
the transmission.
2. The acts of transmission and of provision of access referred to in
paragraph 1 include the automatic, intermediate and transient
storage of the information transmitted in so far as this takes
place for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission in the
communication network, and provided that the information is not
stored for any period longer than is reasonably necessary for the
3. This Article shall not affect the possibility for a court or
administrative authority, in accordance with Member States'
legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or
prevent an infringement.
In Article 13 as to "Caching", the following appears as to the scope
of the defence:-
1. Where an information society service is provided that consists
of the transmission in a communication network of
information provided by a recipient of the service, Member
States shall ensure that the service provider is not liable for
the automatic, intermediate and temporary storage of that
information, performed for the sole purpose of making more
efficient the information's onward transmission to other
recipients of the service upon their request, on condition that:

(a) the provider does not modify the information;

(b) the provider complies with conditions on access to the
(c) the provider complies with rules regarding the updating
of the information, specified in a manner widely
recognised and used by industry;
(d) the provider does not interfere with the lawful use of
technology, widely recognised and used by industry, to
obtain data on the use of the information; and
(e) the provider acts expeditiously to remove or to disable
access to the information it has stored upon obtaining
actual knowledge of the fact that the information at the
initial source of the transmission has been removed from
the network, or access to it has been disabled, or that a
court or an administrative authority has ordered such
removal or disablement.
2. This Article shall not affect the possibility for a court or
administrative authority, in accordance with Member States'
legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or
prevent an infringement.”
And, finally, in Article 14 as to “Hosting”, these are the provisions:-
“1. Where an information society service is provided that consists
of the storage of information provided by a recipient of the
service, Member States shall ensure that the service provider
is not liable for the information stored at the request of a
recipient of the service, on condition that:
(a) the provider does not have actual knowledge of illegal
activity or information and, as regards claims for
damages, is not aware of facts or circumstances from
which the illegal activity or information is apparent; or
(b) the provider, upon obtaining such knowledge or
awareness, acts expeditiously to remove or to disable
access to the information.
2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply when the recipient of the service is
acting under the authority or the control of the provider.

3. This Article shall not affect the possibility for a court or

administrative authority, in accordance with Member States'
legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or
prevent an infringement, nor does it affect the possibility for
Member States of establishing procedures governing the
removal or disabling of access to information.
107. In addition to that, as explained by Recital 47 to the E-Commerce
Directive, Article 15 requires that Member States should not impose a
general obligation to monitor information. I am satisfied that this is
irrelevant to any issue arising in this case. Deep packet inspection, as
described in this judgment is not the seeking of information which is in the
course of transmission. Instead, it identifies the nature of transmissions,
whether encrypted or otherwise, by reference to the ports which they use,
and the protocol employed, so as to identify peer-to-peer communication.
UPC does this already for legitimate commercial purposes related to the
management of transmissions. If it suited, they could also easily identify
the file # of copyright works and block them or divert the search in aid of
theft to a legal site. This is not a general search for information. It is simple
use of deep packet inspection technology in aid of proper transmission.
108. I am satisfied that UPC is a mere conduit. It did not initiate any peer-
to-peer transmission, whereby copyright material is stolen; the peer-to-
peer swarms select who is to receive the transmission; and, in the course
of transmission, the information is not selected or modified. Whereas I
respect the opinion offered on this section by Mr. Michael Walsh, on behalf
of UPC and regard him as a genuine expert of independent mind, I prefer
Professor Nixon’s opinion. There is no modification of information in these
transmissions that is effected by UPC. Instead, the technical processes
involved in stop and start, in terms of ordering the packets of information
and their transmission, and their analysis by deep package inspection is
not the modification or selection of any information. Tacking on an
advertisement to a transmission, or modifying it so that some of it is lost,
as opposed to being transmitted slowly, would disable the mere conduit
109. The Article does not affect the possibility for a court to require an
internet provide to “terminate” or “prevent” an infringement. This
language is in marked contrast to s. 40(4) of the Copyright and Related

Rights Acts 2000 which refers to the “removal of infringing material”. At

the start of the Directive, various recitals referred to the objectives to be
attained by the Directive. These include, in recital 9, free access to
information, in recital 41, balance, and in recital 46 the disabling of access
to the information concerned. Recitals 42, 43, 44 and 45 confirm the view
which I have given. These provide:-

“(42) The exemptions from liability established in this Directive

cover only cases where the activity of the information
society service provider is limited to the technical process
of operating and giving access to a communication network
over which information made available by third parties is
transmitted or temporarily stored, for the sole purpose of
making the transmission more efficient; this activity is of a
mere technical, automatic and passive nature, which
implies that the information society service provider has
neither knowledge of nor control over the information which
is transmitted or stored.

(43) A service provider can benefit from the exemptions for

"mere conduit" and for "caching" when he is in no way
involved with the information transmitted; this requires
among other things that he does not modify the information
that he transmits; this requirement does not cover
manipulations of a technical nature which take place in the
course of the transmission as they do not alter the integrity
of the information contained in the transmission.

(44) A service provider who deliberately collaborates with one of

the recipients of his service in order to undertake illegal
acts goes beyond the activities of "mere conduit" or
"caching" and as a result cannot benefit from the liability
exemptions established for these activities.

(45) The limitations of the liability of intermediary service

providers established in this Directive do not affect the
possibility of injunctions of different kinds; such injunctions
can in particular consist of orders by courts or
administrative authorities requiring the termination or

prevention of any infringement, including the removal of

illegal information or the disabling of access to it.”

110. Whether UPC is a mere conduit of copyright infringement or not,

recital 45 does not remove the possibility of injunctive relief as a matter of
European law. The wording, again, bears out the very limited nature of
the remedy available in the Act of 2000. The Directive refers to an
injunction that mandates “orders by courts… requiring the termination or
prevention of any infringement, including the removal of illegal
information or the disabling of access to it”. Each of these concepts, of
removal, of termination, of prevention and of disabling are separate. Only
one of them, which is that of removal, is referred to in s. 40(4) of the
Copyright and Related Rights Acts 2000. The construction of this
Directive, therefore, undermines, rather than furthers, the argument made
on behalf of the recording companies.
111. The Copyright Directive does not bring the matter further. Article 2
of the directive is mirrored in national legislation in providing for
reproduction rights to be vested in the creator of original work, or in the
person licensed in that regard. Exceptions and limitations are set out in
Article 5, including the scholar’s exception, quotations for the purpose of
criticism or review, and reproductions, such as music score reproductions,
where the right holders receive fair compensation. Recital 16 declares the
purpose of the Directive, in part to be:-
“(16) Liability for activities in the network environment concerns
not only copyright and related rights but also other areas,
such as defamation, misleading advertising, or infringement
of trademarks, and is addressed horizontally in Directive
2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of
8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society
services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal
market ("Directive on electronic commerce")(4), which
clarifies and harmonises various legal issues relating to
information society services including electronic commerce.
This Directive should be implemented within a timescale
similar to that for the implementation of the Directive on
electronic commerce, since that Directive provides a
harmonised framework of principles and provisions relevant

inter alia to important parts of this Directive. This Directive is

without prejudice to provisions relating to liability in that
112. Recital 27 further indicates that the purpose of the Directive is to
ensure that the mere provision of physical facilities for copyright
infringement is not to be equated with a breach of copyright, save in
particular circumstances. Those circumstances are provided for in Irish law
by s. 40(4) of the Copyright and Related Act 2000.
113. Recital 59 contains a declaration that, in the light of the evidence in
this case, can be seen as a truism:-
“(59) In the digital environment, in particular, the services of
intermediaries may increasingly be used by third parties for
infringing activities. In many cases such intermediaries are
best placed to bring such infringing activities to an end.
Therefore, without prejudice to any other sanctions and
remedies available, rightholders should have the possibility of
applying for an injunction against an intermediary who carries
a third party's infringement of a protected work or other
subject-matter in a network. This possibility should be
available even where the acts carried out by the intermediary
are exempted under Article 5. The conditions and modalities
relating to such injunctions should be left to the national law
of the Member States.”
114. This recital indicates that the purpose of the Directive is to ensure
that injunctive relief is available in national legislation against an
intermediary that carries a copyright infringement, even where they are
exempted. The relevant exemption here is Article 5.1 of the Directive:-
“Exceptions and limitations
1. Temporary acts of reproduction referred to in Article 2, which
are transient or incidental [and] an integral and essential part
of a technological process and whose sole purpose is to
(a) a transmission in a network between third parties by an
intermediary, or
(b) a lawful use of a work or other subject-matter to be
made, and which have no independent economic

significance, shall be exempted from the reproduction

right provided for in Article 2.
2. Member States may provide for exceptions or limitations to
the reproduction right provided for in Article 2 in the following
(a) in respect of reproductions on paper or any similar
medium, effected by the use of any kind of photographic
technique or by some other process having similar
effects, with the exception of sheet music, provided that
the rightholders receive fair compensation;
(b) in respect of reproductions on any medium made by a
natural person for private use and for ends that are
neither directly nor indirectly commercial, on condition
that the rightholders receive fair compensation which
takes account of the application or non-application of
technological measures referred to in Article 6 to the
work or subject-matter concerned;
(c) in respect of specific acts of reproduction made by
publicly accessible libraries, educational establishments
or museums, or by archives, which are not for direct or
indirect economic or commercial advantage;
(d) in respect of ephemeral recordings of works made by
broadcasting organisations by means of their own
facilities and for their own broadcasts; the preservation
of these recordings in official archives may, on the
grounds of their exceptional documentary character, be
(e) in respect of reproductions of broadcasts made by social
institutions pursuing non-commercial purposes, such as
hospitals or prisons, on condition that the rightholders
receive fair compensation.
3. Member States may provide for exceptions or limitations to
the rights provided for in Articles 2 and 3 in the following
(a) use for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or
scientific research, as long as the source, including the

author's name, is indicated, unless this turns out to be

impossible and to the extent justified by the non-
commercial purpose to be achieved;
(b) uses, for the benefit of people with a disability, which are
directly related to the disability and of a non-commercial
nature, to the extent required by the specific disability;
(c) (c) reproduction by the press, communication to the
public or making available of published articles on
current economic, political or religious topics or of
broadcast works or other subject-matter of the same
character, in cases where such use is not expressly
reserved, and as long as the source, including the
author's name, is indicated, or use of works or other
subject-matter in connection with the reporting of
current events, to the extent justified by the informatory
purpose and as long as the source, including the author's
name, is indicated, unless this turns out to be
(d) quotations for purposes such as criticism or review,
provided that they relate to a work or other subject-
matter which has already been lawfully made available
to the public, that, unless this turns out to be impossible,
the source, including the author's name, is indicated,
and that their use is in accordance with fair practice, and
to the extent required by the specific purpose;
(e) use for the purposes of public security or to ensure the
proper performance or reporting of administrative,
parliamentary or judicial proceedings;
(f) use of political speeches as well as extracts of public
lectures or similar works or subject-matter to the extent
justified by the informatory purpose and provided that
the source, including the author's name, is indicated,
except where this turns out to be impossible;
(g) use during religious celebrations or official celebrations
organised by a public authority;

(h) use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture,

made to be located permanently in public places;
(i) incidental inclusion of a work or other subject-matter in
other material;
(j) use for the purpose of advertising the public exhibition
or sale of artistic works, to the extent necessary to
promote the event, excluding any other commercial use;
(k) use for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche;
(l) use in connection with the demonstration or repair of
(m) use of an artistic work in the form of a building or a
drawing or plan of a building for the purposes of
reconstructing the building;
(n) use by communication or making available, for the
purpose of research or private study, to individual
members of the public by dedicated terminals on the
premises of establishments referred to in paragraph 2(c)
of works and other subject-matter not subject to
purchase or licensing terms which are contained in their
(o) use in certain other cases of minor importance where
exceptions or limitations already exist under national
law, provided that they only concern analogue uses and
do not affect the free circulation of goods and services
within the Community, without prejudice to the other
exceptions and limitations contained in this Article.
4. Where the Member States may provide for an exception or
limitation to the right of reproduction pursuant to paragraphs
2 and 3, they may provide similarly for an exception or
limitation to the right of distribution as referred to in Article 4
to the extent justified by the purpose of the authorised act of
5. The exceptions and limitations provided for in paragraphs 1,
2, 3 and 4 shall only be applied in certain special cases which
do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other

subject-matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the

legitimate interests of the rightholder.”
115. It is clear, however, that the purpose of the Directive was to ensure
that injunctive relief should be available in national law despite an
exemption applying as just quoted. Article 8 deals with sanctions and
remedies. This provides:-
“1. Member States shall provide appropriate sanctions and
remedies in respect of infringements of the rights and
obligations set out in this Directive and shall take all the
measures necessary to ensure that those sanctions and
remedies are applied. The sanctions thus provided for shall
be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.
2. Each Member State shall take the measures necessary to
ensure that rightholders whose interests are affected by an
infringing activity carried out on its territory can bring an
action for damages and/or apply for an injunction and, where
appropriate, for the seizure of infringing material as well as of
devices, products or components referred to in Article 6(2).
3. Member States shall ensure that rightholders are in a position
to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose
services are used by a third party to infringe a copyright or
related right.”
116. Particular emphasis is laid on the obligation cast on the State
through the Copyright Directive to ensure that copyright holders are in a
position to apply for an injunction against an internet service provider
which is being used to infringe copyright. As is made clear, however, by
recital 59, the “conditions and modalities relating to such injunctions” are
left to the national law of the Member States. There is therefore nothing in
the Directive which requires any reconstruction of ambiguity in s. 40(4) of
the Copyright and Related Acts 2000 which might enable the Court to
implement, in the absence of national law, injunctive relief not simply to
presently remove infringing material from an internet site but, in the
wording of the E-Commerce Directive, to terminate or prevent a
transmission, or to disable access to files being illegally held by customers
of UPC as an internet service provider. The implementation of the
defences for mere conduit caching and hosting provided in national form

by The European Communities (Directive 2000/31/EC) Regulations 2003,

do not change this. Nor does the slight alteration in wording contained in
Regulation 16(3) thereof in relation to the defence of merely being
conduit. Perhaps that difference in wording was thought in the mind of the
drafter to be explained by the existence of s.40(4) of the Copyright and
Related Act 2000. Whether that is so, or is not so, does not add to the
construction of that subsection within its appropriate context.
117. Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic
communications networks and services (Framework Directive) regulates
the modalities of approach. The Court notes that Article 1 of the 2002
Directive is altered by Article 1 of 2009 Framework Directive requiring due
process and a judicial hearing before internet access is terminated. This
directive must be transposed into Irish law, under Article 5, by the 26th May
2011. As of the present time, Article 8.4 provides:-
“4. The national regulatory authorities shall promote the
interests of the citizens of the European Union by inter alia:
(a) ensuring all citizens have access to a universal service
specified in Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service
(b) ensuring a high level of protection for consumers in their
dealings with suppliers, in particular by ensuring the
availability of simple and inexpensive dispute resolution
procedures carried out by a body that is independent of
the parties involved;
(c) contributing to ensuring a high level of protection of
personal data and privacy;
(d) promoting the provision of clear information, in
particular requiring transparency of tariffs and conditions
for using publicly available electronic communications
(e) addressing the needs of specific social groups, in
particular disabled users; and
(f) ensuring that the integrity and security of public
communications networks are maintained.”
Article 1, as amended in the future in 2011, will read as follows:-

“1. This Directive establishes a harmonised framework for the

regulation of electronic communications services, electronic
communications networks, associated facilities and
associated services, and certain aspects of terminal
equipment to facilitate access for disabled users. It lays down
tasks of national regulatory authorities and establishes a set
of procedures to ensure the harmonised application of the
regulatory framework throughout the Community

2. This Directive as well as the Specific Directives are without

prejudice to the obligations imposed by national law in
accordance with Community law or by Community law in
respect of services provided using electronic communications
networks and services.

3. This Directive as well as the Specific Directives are without

prejudice to measures taken at Community or national level,
in compliance with Community law, to pursue general interest
objectives, in particular relating to content regulation and
audio-visual policy.

3a. Measures taken by Member States regarding end-users

access to, or use of, service and applications through
electronic communications networks shall resepct the
fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, as
guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and general
principles of Community law.

Any of these measures regarding end-users’ access to, or use

of, services and applications through electronic
communications networks liable to restrict those fundamental
rights or freedoms may only be imposed if they are
appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic
society, and their implementation shall be subject to
adequate procedural safeguards in conformity with the

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and

Fundamental Freedoms and with general principles of
Community law, including effective judicial protection and
due process. Accordingly, these measures may only be taken
with due respect for the principle of the presumption of
innocence and the right to privacy. A prior, fair and impartial
procedure shall be guaranteed, including the right to be
heard of the person or persons concerned, subject to the
need for appropriate conditions and procedural arrangements
in duly substantiated cases of urgency in conformity with the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms. The right to effective and timely
judicial review shall be guaranteed.’
4. This Directive and the Specific Directives are without
prejudice to the provisions of Directive 1999/5/EC.
118. The Communication Regulations Act 2002 (“the Act of 2002”), as
amended by the Communications Regulation (Amendment) Act 2007,
allows for an independent body to carry out investigations, under s. 10(1),
into matters relating to the supply of and access to, electronic
communications services. This does not imply, to my mind, the resolution
of disputes. Indeed, ComReg, the independent body established under the
Act of 2002, is neither obligated to investigate complaints nor to resolve
disputes involving consumers and operators/internet service providers.
These powers there contained are in marked contrast with those provided,
for example, under the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of
Ireland Act 2004 (“the Act of 2004”), which amends the Central Bank Act
1942 and which establishes the Office of the Financial Services
Ombudsman. More specifically, that Act establishes a clear dispute
resolution process, providing the Ombudsman with extensive powers of
investigation and resolution. Importantly section 57BY of the Central Bank
Act 1942 (“the Act of 1942”), as inserted by s. 16 of the Act of 2004,
provides that the Financial Services Ombudsman shall investigate a
complaint that falls within the jurisdiction of the office. Section 57BY(1)
reads as follows:-

“(1) The Financial Services Ombudsman shall investigate a

complaint if satisfied that the complaint is within the jurisdiction of
the Financial Services Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman’s role is not, however, confined to a mere investigatory
one. Section 57CA of the Act of 1942, provides that the Ombudsman must
first seek to deal with the complaint by mediation. Failing this, section
57(CA)(4)(a) empowers the Ombudsman to “deal with the complaint by
adjudication…” Any subsequent decision of the Ombudsman does not lack
bite and will be enforced by the Circuit Court under s. 57CJ where the
Court is satisfied that the order made by the Ombudsman was intra vires.
In addition, in order to confirm my view, I have looked at how in other
European jurisdictions, national measures apply to blocking internet
access, or interrupting or diverting transmission, as well as to the removal
of material on the internet. I now briefly refer to some relevant examples.

National Measures in Other States

119. Section 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2010 of the United Kingdom
inserts a new section into the Communication Acts 2003. In its detailed
terms, this provides for a code of practice in relation to the interruption of
piracy transmissions. The appropriate modalities are decided upon and
overseen by the Commission for Communications Regulations. I therefore
“(1) This section applies if it appears to a copyright owner that–
(a) a subscriber to an internet access service has infringed
the owner’s copyright by means of the service; or
(b) a subscriber to an internet access service has allowed
another person to use the service, and that other person
has infringed the owner’s copyright by means of the
(2) The owner may make a copyright infringement report to the
internet service provider who provided the internet access
service if a code in force under section 124C or 124D (an
"initial obligations code") allows the owner to do so.
(3) A "copyright infringement report" is a report that
(a) states that there appears to have been an infringement
of the owner´s copyright;

(b) includes a description of the apparent infringement;

(c) includes evidence of the apparent infringement that
shows the subscriber´s IP address and the time at which
the evidence was gathered;
(d) is sent to the internet service provider within the period
of 1 month beginning with the day on which the
evidence was gathered; and
(e) complies with any other requirement of the initial
obligations code.
(4) An internet service provider who receives a copyright
infringement report must notify the subscriber of the report if
the initial obligations code requires the provider to do so.
(5) A notification under subsection (4) must be sent to the
subscriber within the period of 1 month.”
120. Similarly, s. 124(g) provides for a technical solution whereby a
subscriber may be prevented from using the internet. The detail of these
provisions contrast markedly with their absence in our national
“(1) The Secretary of State may direct OFCOM to
(a) assess whether one or more technical obligations should
be imposed on internet service providers;
(b) take steps to prepare for the obligations;
(c) provide a report on the assessment or steps to the
Secretary of State.
(2) A "technical obligation", in relation to an internet service
provider, is an obligation for the provider to take a technical
measure against some or all relevant subscribers to its service
for the purpose of preventing or reducing infringement of
copyright by means of the internet.
(3) A "technical measure" is a measure that
(a) limits the speed or other capacity of the service provided
to a subscriber;
(b) prevents a subscriber from using the service to gain
access to particular material, or limits such use;
(c) suspends the service provided to a subscriber; or

(d) limits the service provided to a subscriber in another

(4) A subscriber to an internet access service is "relevant" if the
subscriber is a relevant subscriber, within the meaning of
section 124B(3), in relation to the provider of the service and
one or more copyright owners.
(5) The assessment and steps that the Secretary of State may
direct OFCOM to carry out or take under subsection (1)
include, in particular–
(a) consultation of copyright owners, internet service
providers, subscribers or any other person;
(b) an assessment of the likely efficacy of a technical
measure in relation to a particular type of internet
access service; and
(c) steps to prepare a proposed technical obligations code.
(6) Internet service providers and copyright owners must give
OFCOM any assistance that OFCOM reasonably require for the
purposes of complying with any direction under this section.
(7) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament any
direction under this section.
(8) OFCOM must publish every report under this section–
(a) as soon as practicable after they send it to the Secretary
of State, and
(b) in such manner as they consider appropriate for bringing
it to the attention of persons who, in their opinion, are
likely to have an interest in it.
(9) OFCOM may exclude information from a report when it is
published under subsection (8) if they consider that it is
information that they could refuse to disclose in response to a
request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.”
121. Finally, there is power to use a blocking injunction, whereby sites
such as Pirate Bay, may be prevented from being accessed through an
internet service provider. This provided is for in s.17 of the Digital
Economy Act 2010:-
“(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision
about the granting by a court of a blocking injunction in

respect of a location on the internet which the court is

satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in
connection with an activity that infringes copyright.
(2) "Blocking injunction" means an injunction that requires a
service provider to prevent its service being used to
gain access to the location.
(3) The Secretary of State may not make regulations under this
section unless satisfied that
(a) the use of the internet for activities that infringe
copyright is having a serious adverse effect on
businesses or consumers,
(b) making the regulations is a proportionate way to
address that effect, and
(c) making the regulations would not prejudice national
security or the prevention or detection of crime.
(4) The regulations must provide that a court may not grant an
injunction unless satisfied that the location is
(a) a location from which a substantial amount of material
has been, is being or is likely to be obtained in
infringement of copyright,
(b) a location at which a substantial amount of material has
been, is being or is likely to be made available in
infringement of copyright, or
(c) a location which has been, is being or is likely to be used
to facilitate access to a location within paragraph (a) or
(5) The regulations must provide that, in determining whether to
grant an injunction, the court must take account of–
(a) any evidence presented of steps taken by the service
provider, or by an operator of the location, to prevent
infringement of copyright in the qualifying material,
(b) any evidence presented of steps taken by the copyright
owner, or by a licensee of copyright in the qualifying
material, to facilitate lawful access to the qualifying
(c) any representations made by a Minister of the Crown,

(d) whether the injunction would be likely to have a

disproportionate effect on any person´s legitimate
interests, and
(e) the importance of freedom of expression.
(6) The regulations must provide that a court may not grant an
injunction unless notice of the application for the injunction
has been given, in such form and by such means as is
specified in the regulations, to
(a) the service provider, and
(b) operators of the location.
(7) The regulations may, in particular–
(a) make provision about when a location is, or is not, to be
treated as being used to facilitate access to another
(b) provide that notice of an application for an injunction
may be given to operators of a location by being
published in accordance with the regulations,
(c) provide that a court may not make an order for costs
against the service provider,
(d) make different provision for different purposes, and
(e) make incidental, supplementary, consequential,
transitional, transitory or saving provision.
(8) The regulations may–
(a) modify Chapter 6 of Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988, and
(b) make consequential provision modifying Acts and
subordinate legislation.
(9) Regulations under this section may not include provision in
respect of proceedings before a court in England and Wales
without the consent of the Lord Chancellor.
(10) Regulations under this section must be made by statutory
(11) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this
section may not be made unless–
(a) the Secretary of State has complied with section 18, and

(b) a draft of the instrument has been laid before and

approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
(12) In this section
• “copyright owner" has the same meaning as in Part 1 of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;
• "Minister of the Crown" has the same meaning as in the
Ministers of the Crown Act 1975;
• "modify" includes amend, repeal or revoke;
• "operator", in relation to a location on the internet, means a
person who has editorial control over material available at the
• "qualifying material", in relation to an injunction, means the
material taken into account by the court for the purposes of
provision made under subsection (4);
• "service provider" has the same meaning as in section 97A of
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;
• "subordinate legislation" has the same meaning as in the
Interpretation Act 1978.
(13) In the application of this section to Scotland
• "costs" means expenses;
• “injunction" means interdict.”
122. There is nothing like these provisions in Ireland. I turn now to
France. On the 12 May, 2009, the French National Assembly passed the
‘Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits
sur Internet’ (HADOPI) law “Loi favorisant la diffusion et la protection de
la création sur Internet”. This adopted version included important
changes to the original HADOPI law which was rejected by the
Constitutional Court of France (“the Conseil Constitutionnel”). This
rejected version sought to establish in French law a ‘graduated-response’
approach to tackling online copyright piracy. In its original form the
system established a ‘three-strikes’ policy, with the third strike (the
termination of internet access) at the discretion of a newly established
administrative body (HADOPI). The empowering of this non-judicial body
was struck down as an unacceptable encroachment on the presumption
of innocence. In this jurisdiction, that concept would apply only to an
accusation of crime. The revised version acknowledges these objections

and provides that a court hearing must precede any removal of a

subscriber’s internet access. HADOPI, this new regulatory body, will
investigate alleged breaches of copyright law and recommend
appropriate sanctions. Where the body advises that a subscriber be cut-
off the judicial arm of the State will be called into action, thereby
ensuring that the presumption of innocence and the right to freedom of
expression are protected. HADOPI was finally established on the 27 th July,
123. The law specifically targets peer-to-peer file sharing, the
undisputed focal point for illegal activity. The United Kingdom definitions
seem to be more comprehensive and the law in that jurisdiction to be
practical and workable.
124. In Belgium in 2004, in the case of Scarlet v. Sabam the Belgian
Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (Sabam) initiated legal
proceedings against the ISP Scarlet (originally Tiscali, Belgium), before
the Belgian national Court of First Instance in Brussels, arguing that
Scarlet should be held responsible for the illegal file-sharing activities of
its subscribers conducted over its network. In 2007 the Belgian national
Court of First Instance held that Scarlet was liable for copyright
infringement and required it to take certain steps to prevent its
customers from illegally downloading copyright-protected music by
installing software to filter and block peer-to-peer files. Of particular
relevance is the fact that the Court accepted the expert evidence and
was satisfied that the necessary technology existed to effectively detect
and filter infringing materials.
125. On appeal the Belgian Court of Appeal referred the following
questions to the European Court of Justice:
a. does European legislation [including articles 8 and 10 of the
European Convention of European Rights] allow Member
States to authorise a national court to order ISPs to install as
a preventive measure a system filtering all electronic
communications passing through their service to identify
files containing work which a claimant alleges to enjoy the
rights of, and to block the transfer of such files?; and

b. if so, are national courts required to apply the principle of

proportionality when asked to rule over the efficacy and
dissuasive effect of the requested measure?
126. Although judgment will not be delivered in this case until autumn
2011 it is apparent, given the wording of Article 1 of the Directive
2002/EC/EC, as amended by Framework Directive 2009/140/EC, that any
measure that imposes restrictions on end-users’ access to, or use of,
services may only be imposed “if they are appropriate, proportionate and
necessary within a democratic society, and their implementation shall by
subject to adequate procedural safeguards in conformity with the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms and with general principles of Community law…”
127. In addition to the judicial remedies sought by Sabam, the Belgian
legislature has recognised the need for reform in this area. Two pieces of
legislation are currently being debated by the Belgian legislature. The
first, introduced on 17 March 2010, proposes a graduated response
approach, similar to the HADOPI law as enacted in France. Although based
around the same principles – if you fail to comply following a series of
warnings you may have your internet access suspended or even
terminated – there are differences between the two.
128. The proposed Belgian law offers subscribers three opportunities to
respond to rights holders before they risk the loss of their internet access.
The process starts with a warning by e-mail. If this fails to deter the user
an administrative fine is imposed. Following these two warnings if the
user is determined to flagrantly ignore copyright law the user must attend
court where a larger fine, or even restrictions on his or her internet access
may be imposed. It is only when all of the above steps have failed that the
most serious sanction – the termination of an internet account – can be
imposed at the direction of a court. Both the proposed Belgian law and
the current French law can be argued to comply with Article 1 of the
Directive 2002/EC/EC as amended by Framework Directive 2009/140/EC.
Article 1 sets out that the termination of an end-user’s internet access (or
any limitations imposed upon it) must be done following the resolution of
a hearing that adheres to fair procedures as required by the European
Convention on Human Rights. There seems to be no reason why the
District Court in Ireland could not administer inexpensively either such a

system or a system of application for information based on proof of IP

addresses and infringement, for the purpose of future prosecution by the
recording companies.

Other Jurisdictions
129. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act 2000 (“DMCA”) was enacted
in the United States of America to “criminalize circumventing copyright-
protection technology” and to punish online copyright infringement. In
particular the Act makes internet service providers liable for infringing
activity on their servers so as to stop illegal file-sharing. An internet
service provider is defined in 17 U.S.C. § 512(k) as being either “an entity
offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital
online communications, between or among points specified by a user…” In
a manner akin to the ‘mere conduit’ defence under European law § 512(h)
gives complete immunity from liability to internet service providers who
simply transmit information from user to user without caching. The Act
also authorises rights holders to serve a subpoena on the internet service
provider, asking it to identify the accused infringer. Liability can be
otherwise established, it seems, in U.S. law for participation in tort through
a failure to act appropriately. In the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Metro-
Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. et al. v. Grokster, Ltd., et al. 545 (U.S.) 913
the Court held as follows:-
“When a widely shared product is used to commit infringement, it
may be possible to enforce rights in the protected work effectively
against all infringers, so that the only practical alternative is to go
against the devices’ distributor for secondary liability on a theory of
contributory or vicarious infringement. One infringes contributorily
by intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement, and
infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while
declining to exercise the right to stop or limit it. Although “[t]he
Copyright Act does not expressly render anyone liable for
[another’s] infringement,” Sony, 464 U.S., at 434, these secondary
liability doctrines emerged from common law principles and are well
established in law, e.g., id., at 486. Pp 10-13.”
130. Of note from an Irish and European perspective is that fact that a
court order is required before an end-user’s access to the internet can be

interfered with. This reflects, as far as I can understand, the critical

importance that the U.S. legislature attaches to the right to internet
access, freedom of expression and the presumption of innocence, which
may apply in that legal system, I do not know, outside the realm of crime.
Obvious parallels can be drawn between the French HADOPI II law, the
proposed Belgian law and the Digital Economy Act 2010 in the U.K. In
addition, the New Zealand legislature has recently introduced the File-
Sharing Bill 2010, in an attempt to address piracy of copyright on the

Injunction to Disable Internet Piracy

131. The detail provided for in the legislation briefly referred to providing
a remedy against hosting, allowing for a three strikes policy and the
disablement of a transmission involving copyright theft over the internet,
convinces the Court of the absence of similar provisions in Irish Law. In
particular the paucity of the remedy available under s. 40(4) of the
Copyright and Related Rights Act is unambiguous. Legislative intervention
is required, if the Oireachtas see fit, to protect constitutional rights to
copyright and foster the national resource of creativity. The power to block
access to internet sites, to disable access, to interrupt a transmission, to
divert a transmission, and to cut off internet access in controlled
circumstances are amply and clearly provided for in the law of the
neighbouring Kingdom and are specifically outlined in the law of other
European states and are also highly developed in United States of America
law. They are not now available in Irish Law
132. It follows, from the analysis just conducted, that blocking and
diverting mechanisms, as opposed to any removal mechanism, such as in
relation to hosting are not available under s. 40(4) of the Act.

Pirate Bay Injunction

133. In the second paragraph of their prayer for relief, the recording
companies ask for a blocking injunction against Pirate Bay. This site is
responsible for the great bulk of internet piracy in this country. Mr.
Kavanagh, as I have said, described how he used it. To begin legally
downloading copyright material, all that one needs to do is to access
Pirate Bay, download the appropriate software from them, search on their

website what swarms are active and what tracks are being offered, and
then join one of those swarms using the relevant software. Regrettably on
a full consideration of this matter, a blocking injunction is not available in
Irish law.
134. Were it available, I would grant it. Mr. Harrison, in evidence on
behalf of UPC indicated, how, through Eircom, when that access was
blocked, he readily found a way through. However, this took him twenty
minutes. Professor Nixon offered the opinion that such blocking was futile.
I do not agree. In the telecommunications industry it has been noted that
where an area moves from access to other areas, such as the Aran Islands
to Dublin, or the Aran Islands to New York, by dialling the operator, to
direct dial, that the improvement in service causes a leap in usage. This is
known as the service improvement jump. It must work in the opposite
situation. I would regard it as both educative and helpful to block Pirate
Bay were I enabled by the relevant legislation to do so. At the very least, it
declares that the activity is illegal. I cannot grant the injunction because I
have no legal power to do so.

Prior Judgments
135. There were two prior judgments of the Court in relation to issues
related to this case. In EMI Records (Ireland) Limited v. Eircom Limited
[2010] IEHC 108, (Unreported, High Court, Charleton J., 16th April, 2010),
as has been previously stated, a similar action had been brought against
Eircom, as the largest internet service provider in the State. This was
settled on the basis of a three strike policy that is fully set out in that
judgment. The Court was asked to determine the capability of aspects of
that settlement with the Data Protection Acts 1988-2003, three issues
having been raised in correspondence by the Data Protection
Commissioner. In the light of the evidence in this case, and the
conclusions that the Court has reached, the Court would wish to make it
clear that this judgment is unaffected. I have reconsidered it in the light of
the evidence and submissions in this case and I am of the view that the
judgment is correct.
136. A different conclusion arises in relation to the judgment of the Court
in EMI (Ireland) Limited v. Eircom Plc [2009] IEHC 411 (Unreported, High
Court, Charleton J., 24th July, 2009). That judgment was, as the first

paragraph of it indicates, delivered ex-tempore, having heard, as I said,

only one side of the case. In settling the litigation, EMI and Eircom, agreed
that an application would be brought to block access to ‘The Pirate Bay’
website on the facilities of Eircom, as an internet service provider. The
conclusion I reached in that judgment, that I was entitled as a matter of
law, to block access to that site, was arrived at in the absence of argument
to the contrary by Eircom. While Eircom did not consent to the judgment,
at the same time, they appeared in court and offered no argument against
the analysis in favour of the grant of an injunction: this position of not
arguing against the injunction, I understand, was part of the terms of the
settlement between those parties. Counsel for Eircom was thus
constrained into offering no opposition to the argument.
137. Having fully considered the issue of blocking a site as variant as
The Pirate Bay, I regret that my previous judgment in the matter was
wrong. The legislative basis enabling me to act in that way does not exist
in Irish law as it exists in other European jurisdictions. The parties to that
case may wish to reapply, or they may be content that The Pirate Bay
should be blocked through the channels of Eircom. No order as to costs
was made in that case, as the application was uncontested and costs were
not sought as a matter of consent.

138. Solutions are available to the problem of internet copyright piracy. It
is not surprising that the legislative response laid down in our country in
the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, at a time when this problem
was not perceived to be as threatening to the creative and retail economy
as it has become in 2010, has made no proper provision for the blocking,
diverting or interrupting of internet communications intent on breaching
copyright. In failing to provide legislative provisions for blocking, diverting
and interrupting internet copyright theft, Ireland is not yet fully in
compliance with its obligations under European law. Instead, the only
relevant power that the courts are given is to require an internet hosting
service to remove copyright material. Respecting, as it does, the doctrine
of separation of powers and the rule of law, the Court cannot move to
grant injunctive relief to the recording companies against internet piracy,
even though that relief is merited on the facts.

139. The Court thus declines injunctive relief.

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